Australian superannuation assets continued to grow through December quarter of last year despite the impact of the Government’s superannuation hardship early release scheme.
In fact, withdrawals as a result of the early release scheme defied some industry expectations by actually slowing down.
The latest December quarter data released by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) revealed that superannuation assets increased by 5.4% to $3 trillion, while on a calendar year basis they increased by 2.2%.
Where withdrawals were concerned, the APRA data showed there were $21.3 billion in total benefit payments in the December 2020 quarter, substantially lower than the previous two quarters.
APRA noted that the prior two quarters “experienced abnormal historically high levels of lump sum payments under the early release scheme (ERS) that commenced on 20 April”.
“This reflects significantly diminished take-up of ERS during the December quarter with lump sum payments closer to underlying levels, totalling $11.7 billion for the quarter whilst pension payments totalled $9.6 billion,” it said.
Where financial performance was concerned, APRA said the rate of return (ROR) for entities with more than four members for the December 2020 quarter was 6.2%. The annual ROR to December 2020 was 3.1%. The five-year average annualised ROR was 6.7%.