For the first time in a few years, university sector industry fund UniSuper’s Sustainable Balanced and Sustainable High Growth strategies have underperformed its mainstream equivalents.
UniSuper’s Sustainable High Growth strategy had returned 19.4% since the start of the year to 31 May, 2021, versus a 24.2% return for the High Growth strategy.
Sustainable Balanced returned 13.3%, compared to a returned of 14.9% for the Balanced strategy.
In an investment update, John Pearce, Unisuper chief investment officer, said this underperformance was largely attributed to energy prices.
“We’ve become accustomed over the last few years to see these outperform their standard equivalents. Yet in this financial year, they are underperforming. Why is that?” Pearce said.
“One of the key reasons is the rise in energy prices. Bear in mind that the sustainable options do not include any fossil fuel companies.
“So as the oil price has risen and energy companies generally have risen in price, the sustainable options have not benefited from this, and hence they find themselves underperforming their standard equivalents.
“Having said that, overall, members should be pretty pleased when they get their statements for this financial year.”
The super fund also noted the performance of its Global Environmental Opportunities strategy which had returned 40.2% since the start of the year to 31 May.
The Australian Bond strategy was the super fund’s worst performer, with a loss of 1.8%.