Wilson’s probing questions confirm super negativity

Questions posed by the chairman of a key parliamentary committee have served to lay bare the negative returns delivered via the MySuper products of some of Australia’s major superannuation funds last financial year. 

The chairman of the House of Representative Standing Committee on Economics, Tim Wilson, sought to probe superannuation funds about their advertising and other expenditures and the returns generated for members but has ended up revealing just how tough the first half of 2020 proved to be. 

Amongst the major funds reporting negative returns were Colonial First State and Fiducian along with a number of industry superannuation funds. 

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Wilson asked of the funds and companies to complete a table for the average return on all their investments over the past five years. 

Indicative of the general tenor of answers provided to Wilson was that provided by Colonial First State which for 2019/20 revealed negative outcomes ranging from 7.10% for Commonwealth Essential Super to somewhat more palatable outcome of negative 0.30% for the company’s Encircle superannuation fund. 

This compared to Fiducian reporting an average negative return of 1.3% for 2019/20, well down on the 9% reported in 2017/18. 

These sorts of results compared to a positive 0.2% reported to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) by AustralianSuper and negative 2% reported by Hostplus. 

Importantly, all the funds which confirmed descending into negative return territory in 2019/20 did so off the back of more robust returns in the prior financial year with almost all of them now having ridden the market recovery which cut in the second half of last year. 

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