Types of AustralianSuper super accounts
AustralianSuper offers a variety of superannuation products. These include its AustralianSuper Plan (for full-time, part-time and casual employees of any industry), and its Personal Plan (for people self-employed as sole traders or as a partner in a partnership, or who are not currently in paid employment) products. AustralianSuper members have access to a range of investment options, including:
- The default, MySuper-authorised Balanced option and a range of other “PreMixed” options, including Socially Aware and High Growth options. AustralianSuper describes these PreMixed options as “hands-off and hassle-free” for members.
- DIY mix options, where you select a combination of asset classes (such as Australian shares, international shares and property) and how much you want to invest in each of them. AustralianSuper describes this option as “a bit hands-on”.
- A Member Direct investment option where you can invest in your choice of selected shares, exchange traded funds (ETFs), listed investment companies (LICs), term deposits and cash. Each of these investment options offer members different degrees of choice and control over how their money is invested. AustralianSuper says this option offers “greater control and choice” in how your super is invested, but warns that it “requires a confident approach to investing”. It encourages members to speak to a financial adviser before committing to this investment option.
Some of the other features offered by AustralianSuper include:
- Life insurance, total permanent disability (TPD) insurance and income protection insurance available within super (as with any insurance product, consider checking the cover amount, any exclusions, limits or other conditions that apply, as well as the premiums you would be charged, before deciding whether it suits your needs).
- Personal financial advice (provided by a third party, not AustralianSuper) available over the phone or face-to-face. This advice may attract a fee in some cases. AustralianSuper also holds retirement and financial planning webinars at no additional cost to members
- The ability to access your super account online or via the AustralianSuper mobile app.
How to join AustralianSuper
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 AustralianSuper’s product disclosure statement (PDS) for the product you are considering, which could help you decide whether it is suitable for your needs.
If you decide to join AustralianSuper, you can follow the prompts on its website to register. AustralianSuper says you will need to provide your Tax File Number and your employer’s ABN (if you’re an employee), as well as some personal and contact details. AustralianSuper says the process should take less than 15 minutes.
Finally, remember to tell your employer that you’ve joined AustralianSuper. Your employer should give you a Superannuation Standard Choice Form to fill out, sign and return.
According to AustralianSuper, it is an industry super fund run only to benefit members. Its directors represent members and employers in equal shares and are appointed by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Ai Group – Australia’s peak bodies for trade unions and employer associations respectively.
AustralianSuper offers a choice of three main investment options to personal super investors at the time of writing:
- PreMixed: a less hands-on option which allows you to pick one of AustralianSuper’s pre-mixed investment options. AustralianSuper offers Balanced, High Growth, Socially Aware, Indexed Diversified, Conservative Balanced and Stable asset mixes under the PreMixed option. These choices determine how your super is invested across different combinations of assets like shares, property and cash.
- DIY Mix: allows you to choose the asset classes you want your super to be invested in, and in what amounts. AustralianSuper allows you to invest in Australian shares, international shares, property, diversified fixed interest and cash.
- Member Direct: the most hands-on option, which gives you a great amount of control by allowing you to choose specific S&P/ASX 300 Index stocks, ETFs, LICs and term deposits.
If you don’t make a decision as to how your money will be invested, AustralianSuper says your super will be invested into the Balanced asset mix within its PreMixed option.
For more details on what each AustralianSuper investment option entails, you can contact AustralianSuper or read the PDS and other documentation on its website.
Yes, AustralianSuper says that if you choose the Socially Aware PreMixed investment option, your super will be invested in listed shares and fixed-interest investments “using strict screening based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards”, as well as in “a wide range of other asset classes”. According to AustralianSuper, the Socially Aware option specifically excludes investments in companies that:
- directly own fossil fuel or uranium reserves
- produce tobacco or certain types of weaponry
- have exclusively male or female boards (for ASX200-listed companies)
- have been”flagged as having human rights, labour, environmental or governance controversies”.
If you choose the DIY Mix or Member Direct investment options, you may be able to decide yourself where your super is invested, to a certain extent. It could be worth speaking to AustralianSuper for more information on this.
AustralianSuper charges a variety of fees to its members in return for managing their superannuation savings. At the time of writing, some of the fees on its standard super accounts include:
- An administration fee – currently $2.25 per week plus up to 0.04% p.a. of your account balance.
- An investment fee which can vary from year to year. In the 2020/21 financial year, this fee was 0.62% of a member’s account balance for the Balanced investment option.
- Insurance premiums (if you take out insurance within your super), which depend on the level or amount of cover you have, your age and the type of work you do.
- An advice fee of up to $295 if you are seeking advice about starting a Choice Income or transition-to-retirement account. A flat advice fee may also be charged if you meet face-to-face with an adviser, though the first meeting is complimentary, AustralianSuper says.
- Other potential fees, such as a contribution splitting fee of $70 if you split contributions with your spouse.
Bear in mind that other fees may apply. Consider checking AustralianSuper’s product disclosure statements (PDS) and other relevant documentation on its website for details. You can also compare the annual fees of its default investment option against those of other super funds on Canstar’s database.
AustralianSuper says you can consolidate your super by filling in its ‘Combine your super web form’ or by downloading and completing the form and emailing it back to AustralianSuper.
You can also consolidate your super through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) via the myGov website.
It’s important to check with your current super fund(s) for information regarding any related costs and any insurance cover you may lose if you switch super funds. Also consider whether consolidating your super is a suitable decision for your life stage and retirement goals.
AustralianSuper was formed in 2006 from the merger of the Superannuation Trust of Australia (STA) and Australian Retirement Fund (ARF). It says it is now Australia’s largest superannuation fund, with around 2.4 million members and almost $200 billion in assets according to recent APRA data.