Top sustainable super funds faring better than balanced peers

Most of the best-performing sustainable/responsible superannuation funds have managed to weather the COVID-19 storm better than their balanced peers with the top fund only losing 0.02% compared to a loss of 2.43% for top balanced fund during Q1 2020, according to data.

FE Analytics data found the top sustainable/responsible super fund was Australian Ethical Defensive fund that had 100% of its allocation towards interest bearing investments.

This included NSW Treasury corporate bonds (8.98%), Australian government loans (8.28%), Western Australia treasury corporate (6.93%), Government of Australia (3.69%), and Treasury corporate of Victoria bonds (2.29%).

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While it had been able to navigate the COVID-19 volatility well, its long-term returns were also conservative, placing in the third and fourth quartiles over three (3.46%), five (5.73%), and 10-years (22.74%).

Following the Australian Ethical fund, CFS Stewart Investors Wholesale Worldwide Sustainability fund followed lost 0.39%, Australian Ethical Conservative at a loss of 0.66%, VicSuper FutureSaver Socially Conscious lost 3.99%, and Suncorp Brighter Super Per Walter Scott Global Equity lost 5.2%.

The Australian Ethical Conservative fund had its largest allocation to Investa Property Group at 3.09%, followed by various Australian Government loans. Over 57% of the fund was invested in global fixed interest and 16.95% in the money market.

All the top funds had returns in the top quartile for both long and short-term time horizons except the Australian Ethical Defensive fund and the Australian Ethical Conservative fund over three and five years that placed in the second quartile at 14.2% and 18.2% respectively.

Best-performing sustainable/responsible super funds over three months to 31 March 2020

Source: FE Analytics

However, FE Analytics data found that the worst sustainable/responsible performers fared a lot worse than their multi-asset balanced peers with the worst fund, Australian Ethical Smaller Companies, losing 21.73% compared to a loss of 13.82% for ANZ Smart Choice Super Legg Mason Diversified.

Despite this, the fund placed in the top quartile for five and 10 year returns at 25.95% and 107.1% respectively. It was also given a 5 Crown Rating by FE fundinfo after displaying superior performance in terms of stockpicking, consistency and risk control.

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