Comparing options for a super retirement? 5-Star Rated super products for 2020 revealed

A healthy performance and return from your super fund can be crucial to a comfortable retirement. Is your super fund giving you Outstanding Value?

It’s been a somewhat tumultuous time for super of late, with sweeping changes introduced last year affecting some low-balance and dormant accounts. So far in 2020 we’ve seen further debate over the scheduled increase to the super guarantee, while the Association of Super Funds of Australia has updated its Retirement Standard to reflect increased costs for an individual or couple to live in retirement. And that’s all before we consider the impact that the new coronavirus has had on the share market and as a result, super investment performance.

In short, it’s possibly as important as it’s ever been to make sure that your super fund is providing you with value and your retirement savings are working hard.

To help consumers find a fund that’s right for them, Canstar Research has crunched the numbers on 67 super products from 58 different providers to determine which funds on our database offer Outstanding Value to consumers.

To help reflect a broad range of different consumer types, Canstar Research compared super products across 25 different profiles based on varying ages and account balances. The products were rated based on their net performance over the last six years, taking into account investment returns for the default investment option on that product, as well as fees and default insurance premiums charged (where applicable).

In addition, Canstar Research considered the features on offer from each product, including:

  • Flexibility regarding investment options
  • Insurance options
  • Customer support

Winning products were identified based on their overall performance across all profiles, rather than how they fared in specific categories, so it could be worth checking how a product performed based on the profile that most closely matches your situation.

2020’s 5-Star Rated super products

Here are the super products that received an overall 5-Star Rating this year, sorted alphabetically by product name:

Provider name Product name
AustralianSuper AustralianSuper
Catholic Super Catholic Super Employer Sponsored
Hostplus Super Hostplus Personal Super
Statewide Super Statewide Super Employer Sponsored
Sunsuper Sunsuper for Life
VicSuper VicSuper FutureSaver PersonalSaver

Five of the six winning products have retained their 5-Star Rating from last year. VicSuper is this year’s newcomer.

AustralianSuper

Industry fund AustralianSuper has obtained an overall 5-Star Rating, and has now been a 5-Star winner since 2011. AustralianSuper is the country’s largest super fund and says it has more than $180 billion in funds under management, and more than 2.1 million members as of February 2020.

This year, based on its six-year investment returns once fees and insurance premiums were deducted, as well as the features on offer, the product was awarded a 5-Star Rating across each of the profiles considered.

AustralianSuper offers several different investment options to members, including a Balanced (MySuper) option and a set of ‘PreMixed’ options tailored to various member preferences, plus ‘DIY’ and ‘Member Direct’ options which offer greater flexibility to members in choosing how their money is invested.

In addition, AustralianSuper says it supports members with online learning tools, as well as advice ranging from seminars provided at no extra cost to members, to personal advice delivered for a fee.

Catholic Super Employer Sponsored

This is Catholic Super’s second year as a 5-Star Rating winner. It began as an industry fund specifically for staff of Catholic schools, but is now open to all Australians.

Canstar Research found that Catholic Super’s ‘Employer Sponsored’ option was among the top products on our database when it came to overall performance across the range of profiles considered. Its above-average net performance score – calculated based on the investment returns minus fees and insurance premiums over the six years considered – combined with the range of features it offered to members, contributed to its 5-Star Rating.

Catholic Super offers two investment structures to members: ‘Managed Choice’, which is a set of pre-mixed options created by the fund based on a variety of possible member preferences, and ‘Build Your Own’, which allows members to build a custom investment portfolio by offering direct investment in a range of different asset classes.

The fund says it supports members with a range of online resources including a suite of calculators, plus personalised advice and educational seminars.

Hostplus Personal Super

Traditionally the industry fund for employees of the hospitality, tourism, recreation and sport sectors, Hostplus has won a 5-Star Rating for the third year in a row for its Personal super product, which is open to everyone.

The product’s overall performance was down to a high score across each of profiles considered, with Canstar Research awarding it 5-Star Ratings across the board based on net investment performance plus the range of features available to members.

Hostplus members have access to a wide range of investment options, including pre-mixed options, sector investments that allow members to build a custom portfolio of various asset classes in different proportions, ‘Individual manager investment options’ which offer the option of having some or all aspects of your portfolio overseen by a fund manager, plus its ‘Choiceplus’ investment option, which allows for direct investment in S&P/ASX 300 stocks, Exchange Traded Funds, Listed Investment Companies, and Term Deposits.

Statewide Super Employer Sponsored

Statewide Super has achieved a ‘three-peat’, winning a 5-Star Rating for the third year in a row for its employer sponsored product. The South Australia-based industry super fund says it is open to all Australians, has over 137,000 members, and manages more than $10.2 billion in funds as of March 2020.

Based on its above-average six-year net performance after fees and insurance premiums were subtracted, Canstar Research gave the product a 5-Star Rating across a wide range of consumer profiles, plus an overall 5-Star Rating when the fund was assessed across the spectrum of profiles considered.

In addition to performance, Canstar Research factored in Statewide Super’s suite of investment options. These offer members the ability to choose between a range of ‘diversified options’ based on risk profile and other factors, and single asset class options including cash, Australian and international shares.

Statewide Super also provides advice to members in various forms, from general advice over the phone or in person at its Adelaide or Darwin offices, member advisers who visit workplaces, and personalised financial advice.

Sunsuper for Life

Another fund which has received a 5-Star Rating for its products on each occasion since 2011, Sunsuper is a not-for-profit industry provider which says it has 1.45 million members and $69 billion in funds under management (as at November 2019).

Having crunched the numbers on its six-year net performance and feature scores, Canstar Research awarded the fund a 5-Star Rating across each of the consumer profiles considered, helping it to once again claim one of the top overall spots.

Canstar Research also considered the investment options available to SunSuper for Life members. Members can choose from the following options:

  • Lifecycle Investment Strategy – Sunsuper’s default investment option, designed to generate wealth over the long term and reduce risk the closer you get to retirement age
  • Other diversified options, including Growth, Balanced, Socially Conscious Balanced, Diversified Alternatives, Retirement, and Conversative
  • Single asset class options, including shares, property, diversified bonds, and cash, as well as several passively managed index options

The fund’s online resources, such as calculators and guides, as well as the information and advice it offered members via seminars and over the phone, came into the reckoning when Canstar Research awarded Sunsuper for Life a 5-Star Rating.

VicSuper FutureSaver PersonalSaver

VicSuper has won an overall 5-Star Rating for its FutureSaver PersonalSaver product.

VicSuper is a not-for-profit fund and says it has more than 240,000 members. It began as an industry fund for Victorian public servants, but is now open to all Australians.

Canstar Research noted VicSuper received both an overall 5-Star Rating and a 5-Star Rating across a range of the individual consumer profiles, due to its strong performance on six-year returns net of fees and insurance costs.

When it comes to the fund’s investment options, members have access to a variety of single assets, such as cash, term deposit and an Australian shares managed fund, as well as mixed-asset options which distribute your savings across a range of asset classes. These mixed options include balanced, growth and socially conscious.

VicSuper also offers advice from qualified financial planners both face-to-face and over the phone, as well as retirement adequacy and insurance premium calculators, plus an online financial coach to help members reach their financial goals. These all played a part in VicSuper’s FutureSaver PersonalSaver product being awarded a 5-Star Rating this year.

For more information on how super products are rated, you can read the superannuation Star Ratings methodology document.

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