Aware Super (previously known as First State Super)

Aware Super logo
Aware Super is an industry super fund. It says it is one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds and membership is open to all.

Types of Aware Super superannuation accounts

Aware Super – Personal is the main product available to members. Aware Super members have access to a range of investment options, including ‘pre-mixed’ diversified options, plus a range of single asset class investment options for those who wish to tailor their investment. This includes two ‘socially responsible options’ (Diversified Socially Responsible Investment and Australian Equities Socially Responsible Investment), which Aware Super says are designed for members who want greater certainty about the environmental and social impact of their investments.

Some of the other features offered by Aware Super include:

  • Life insurance, 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)
  • Online access to your super account, including through the Aware Super mobile app
  • Access to financial advice services

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How to join Aware Super

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 Aware Super product disclosure statement (PDS), which could help you decide whether its product is suitable for your needs.

If you decide to join Aware Super, you can open an account online or by sending Aware Super a completed application form. Before you start, Aware Super says you will need to have the following details at hand:

  • Your contact details, including your email address and mobile phone number
  • Your tax file number (optional)

Aware Super also says you must be at least 16 years old to join.

If you are thinking of consolidating all of your super savings into one account, it’s important to check with your old super funds for information regarding any switching costs and any insurance cover you may lose if you move super funds.

Finally, remember to tell your employer that you’ve joined Aware Super. Your employer should give you a choice of super fund form to sign and return to them.

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Aware Super FAQs

Yes, Aware Super members can manage their super account online and via the Aware Super mobile app. You should be able to view your super balance, transactions and fees, view and switch the way your account is invested, view and manage your insurance details, and more.

Aware Super offers a choice of 12 investment options at the time of writing. These are made up of five diversified options and seven single asset class options:

  • Diversified investment options: These options invest your super across different asset classes, investment styles and managers. Aware Super offers High Growth, Growth, Diversified Socially Responsible Investment (SRI), Balanced Growth and Conservative Growth options.
  • Single asset class investment options: These options invest in one asset class only. Aware Super allows you to invest in Australian Equities, Australian Equities Socially Responsible Investment (SRI), International Equities, Property, Australian Fixed Interest, International Fixed Interest and Cash.

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

If you don’t make a decision as to how your money will be invested, Aware Super says it will use its MySuper Life Cycle strategy. This invests your super in the Growth option (for members under 60) and Balanced Growth option (for members aged 60 and over). When you turn 60, your balance and future contributions will automatically switch to the Balanced Growth option.

For more details on what each Aware Super investment option entails, you can contact Aware Super or read the PDS on its website.

Aware Super offers two ethical investment options: a Diversified Socially Responsible Investment (pre-mixed) option and an Australian Equities Socially Responsible Investment (single sector) option.

Aware Super says both of these options exclude investments that it considers to have a highly adverse environmental or social impact. This is identified by Aware Super’s ‘screening criteria’, which include:

  • Climate change screens, such as excluding coal, oil and gas
  • Ethical screens, such as excluding tobacco and gambling
  • Conventions and controversies-based screens, such as excluding companies “consistently involved in severe incidents or corporate controversies”.

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

  • Investment fees, which may vary from year to year. This reflects the fees and costs associated with the purchase/sale and ongoing management of investments of the fund and underlying investment vehicles, Aware Super says.
  • Administration fees of $52 per year ($4.33 per month), plus an asset-based administration fee of 0.15% of your account balance each year (up to a maximum of $750) for accumulation accounts
  • 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, Aware Super says.

Bear in mind that other fees may apply. Consider checking Aware Super’s product disclosure statement (PDS) for details. You can also compare Aware Super’s fees to the other super fund fees on Canstar’s database.

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Members can track and manage the growth of their super balance online with Aware Super, either via its website or the mobile app. Members can also find out the current balance of their super account in their annual statement.

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?
  • Is your Tax File Number (TFN) correctly recorded?
  • 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?

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You can access your super at age 65, even if you are still working. If you retire or begin your transition to retirement before you turn 65, you can access your super when you reach what’s known as your preservation age (this can be from 55 years up to 60 years depending on what year you were born). Earlier access to your super may be possible in certain circumstances, such as:

  • Due to severe financial hardship
  • On compassionate grounds
  • If your super balance is less than $200

You may be able to receive the Age Pension depending on your income and assets. As part of deciding whether you are eligible, the government will look at your financial assets such as superannuation. Visit Services Australia to find out how the Age Pension works and how much you can receive in super and other income before your pension is affected.

Aware Super says you can search for and consolidate your super by using its ‘search and combine’ tool.

It’s important to check with your current super fund(s) for information regarding any related costs you may incur 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.

Aware Super was established in 1992 as a superannuation fund for NSW government employees and their families. In 2006, it opened its doors to everyone in Australia. It was originally called First State Super and rebranded to Aware Super in September 2020.

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This article was reviewed by our Sub Editor Tom Letts before it was updated, as part of our fact checking process.

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Written by: Tamika Seeto | Last updated: October 14, 2020