The superannuation industry is worth around $2.7 trillion, with around $1 trillion of that invested in ‘undisclosed assets.’ The super industry is clouded in mystery and some might say they prefer it that way. Our general disinterest in superannuation could give superfunds a mandate to manage our money the way they like. Being an active member of your super fund is really vital to ensure your investments perform well and that they’re invested in companies of your preference.
Email your superannuation fund
When I initially thought about investigating which companies my superannuation is invested in, I took the lazy option and just sent a quick email. What I received back was a generic response about the “breakdown of asset classes” and how a ‘Socially-Responsible Investment Option’ was available at my fund.
This didn’t really satisfy my thirst so I tried to do a little digging of my own on their website.
Look for the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)
If your super fund doesn’t provide a direct website link to ‘How we invest’ or ‘What are we invested in,’ then you could track down the Product Disclosure Statement, which is a mandatory requirement for their websites. Here will be a lot more detailed information on how exposed they are to different industries and what ESG (ethical, social, governance) considerations they take into account.
I was very surprised that my super fund did not list a single company name or provide any transparency on even an industry basis.
Look for alternatives
Things are unique to every fund so you can find something that best suits you and your personal philosophy. AustralianSuper has a complete list of each company and the weight of investments for each investment strategy. But as an example of things varying, they also include Tabcorp, Australia’s largest gambling company, within its ‘Socially Aware’ option. So, it really is a personal choice about what you find important and where you want your money invested. UniSuper sets out their commitment to ‘Net Zero 2050,’ achieving net zero absolute carbon emissions within their investment portfolio, while Spaceship operates a high risk, high return model that is heavily weighted in information technology.
If you purely want to chase the best performance, you can just keep your eye on the bi-annual reviews of top performing funds from comparison websites. But otherwise, it takes a little bit of research and refining to find the right super that works for you.
Important: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. Consider the appropriateness of the information in regard to your circumstances