Australian Ethical Super


Logo for Australian Ethical Super

Australian Ethical is a retail super fund. When it launched in 1986, it was Australia’s first ethical investment focussed superannuation fund. Membership is open to anyone who is eligible to join a superannuation fund in Australia. It also has a pension product to manage and invest your accumulated superannuation balance when you retire.

Types of Australian Ethical super accounts

Australian Ethical Super

Australian Ethical Super is the accumulation/superannuation savings product available to members. Australian Ethical Super members have access to a range of investment options, including:

  • Defensive (Cash)
  • Conservative
  • Balanced, Growth
  • High Growth
  • Australian Shares
  • International Shares.

Members can invest in more than one investment option (e.g. have 40% invested in the Balanced fund, 40% in International Shares and 20% in Defensive/Cash). Australian Ethical states that it has a strong commitment and focus on ethical investment across all options.

Some of the other features offered by Australian Ethical include:

  • life insurance options, such as life/death cover, total and permanent disability (TPD) and income protection. The death cover includes a terminal illness benefit, which pays out if you are diagnosed with a medical condition that will result in death within 24 months.  Death cover and TPD are also offered as default insurance, meaning that you are provided with some cover automatically when you become a member. The amount provided depends on your age. You can apply to increase the amount of these, as well apply for income protection cover. As with any insurance product, consider checking the cover amount, any exclusions, limitations or other conditions that may apply, as well as the premiums you would be charged before deciding whether it suits your needs
  • the ability to apply to become a member online, as well as transfer/consolidate any existing super fund/s you may have online
  • access to an online member login, which allows you to check your balance, look at past statements, update your personal contact details, see what the investment performance is, and change your investment options

How to join Australian Ethical

Before committing to a particular fund, consider comparing your options with Canstar and checking out our choosing a super fund checklist. You can also read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) for the Australian Ethical product to help decide whether it is suitable for your needs.

If you decide to join Australian Ethical you can do this by going to their website.

You only need to be eligible to join a superannuation fund in Australia.

Finally, remember to tell your employer that you’ve joined Australian Ethical. Your employer should give you a Superannuation Standard Choice Form to fill out, sign and return to them.

Compare Super Funds

Australian Ethical Super FAQs

Australian Ethical is a publicly-listed funds management company.

The super fund states that their focus is on investing ethically, and has an ‘Ethical Charter’ which guides their investment decisions..  “All our funds are rigorously screened for ethical and investment merits and are aligned with global Sustainable Development Goals,” it states. “[We] actively steer capital towards companies that are doing good, and away from those who aren’t.”

Australian Ethical offers a choice of seven investment options at the time of writing:

  • Defensive (Cash)
  • Conservative
  • Balanced, Growth
  • High Growth
  • Australian Shares
  • International Shares.

You can choose to invest in one option or a combination of options. You can also switch investment options at any time for no fee.

You do need to make a decision as to which investment option your money will be invested in, as Australian Ethical says they do not offer a default investment option.

For more details on what each Australian Ethical investment option entails, you can contact Australian Ethical or read the PDS and other documentation on its website.

Australian Ethical charges a variety of fees to its members in return for managing their superannuation savings. At the time of writing, some of its fees include:

  • Investment fees, which vary from depending on the investment option. This reflects the fees and costs associated with the purchase/sale and ongoing management of investments of the fund and underlying investment vehicles, Australian Ethical says.
  • Administration fees of $97 per year, plus an asset-based administration fee of 0.29% of your account balance each year. The asset-based fee is tiered and reduces on the portion of your balance over $250,000, on a sliding scale. Refer to their website for further information
  • Insurance fees, if you have insurance cover through your super. The cost will depend on the level and amount of cover you have, your age, and the type of work you do.

Bear in mind that other fees may apply. Consider checking Australian Ethical’s PDS for details. You can also compare the annual fees for Australian Ethical’s Balanced investment option to other super funds’ fees on Canstar’s database.

To help you stay on top of your super, it may be beneficial to check your regular super statement closely. Here are some of the factors that could be worth paying attention to:

  • Are your personal details up-to-date?
  • Are your nominated beneficiaries up-to-date?
  • Are the super contributions from your employer and/or your voluntary contributions correct?
  • Are your investment asset class choices appropriate for your life stage?
  • Are you happy with the amount you’re paying in fees?
  • Is your insurance still adequate for your needs?
  • Have you decided whether to consolidate your super, after checking whether there is insurance or any other benefits attached to the account you may lose and if you’re comfortable to do so?
  • The big picture – are you happy with your super fund overall?

Compare Super Funds

Australian Ethical is a pioneer in ethical investing in Australia. Their website states that they do not invest in fossil fuel companies, nuclear power or weapons companies, tobacco companies and a wide range of other industries that they consider are against “the good of us and our planet”.

They also offer a retirement/pension product, and managed funds for investment outside of superannuation.

This content was reviewed as part of our fact-checking process.

Written by: Roger Mai | Last updated: December 6, 2021