Superannuation assets fall $31.6 billion in March quarter

Superannuation assets have totalled over $3.4 trillion at the end of March, according to Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) data, marking a 9.7% increase in the value of total superannuation assets over the past year.

While the annual growth in superannuation assets reflected strong investment performance and positive contributions growth due to COVID-19 fiscal stimulus, APRA noted the March quarter showed the beginning of a reversion to long term trends with assets falling by $31.6 billion.

“[The data reflects] contributions beginning to revert to long-term trends and weaker investment performance due to concerns over higher interest rates with rising inflation exacerbated by constrained supply chains, and the uncertainty brought about by the conflict in Ukraine,” the prudential regulator said.

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Meanwhile, contributions totalled $141.6 billion, an increase of 16.9% for the year ending March 2022.

Over this period, employer contributions increased by 6.6% totalling $104.2 billion, of which Superannuation Guarantee contributions ($77.3 billion) increased 5.3%.

Member contributions ($37.4 billion) increased 60% over this period, of which personal contributions ($34.9 billion) increased 61.7%.

“This contributions growth can be largely attributed to the increase in household savings during the onset of COVID-19, although member contribution levels have begun to revert back to longer term trends in the past two quarters,” APRA said.

Benefit payments totalled $83.9 billion, declining 23.8% for the year ending March 2022. Of this, lump sum payments totalled $44.1 billion, a decline of 38% over the year, reflecting the closure of the Early Release Scheme and lump sum payments returning to average levels. Pension payments totalled $39.8 billion over the year, an increase of 2.3%.

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