Industry vs retail super funds: what’s the difference?

TAMIKA SEETO
If you’re comparing superannuation funds, you might have come across the terms ‘industry’ and ‘retail’ super funds. So what’s the difference between the two?

What is an industry super fund?

Industry super funds were originally developed by trade unions and industry bodies to provide for their members in retirement. Originally, the various super funds were only available to people working in a certain industry, such as health or education. However, most industry super funds are now open to the public, so anyone can join. These are known as ‘public offer funds’.

Some of the biggest industry super funds include:

  • AustralianSuper
  • Aware Super
  • HESTA
  • Hostplus
  • Rest Super
  • Sunsuper
  • UniSuper

Industry funds are not-for-profit funds, which means profits are returned to their members. According to Moneysmart, industry super funds also typically range from low to medium cost.

While past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance, the Productivity Commission’s report into super found that not-for-profit funds outperformed retail funds on average.

Compare industry superannuation funds

If you’re considering industry superannuation funds, the table below displays a snapshot of industry superannuation funds on Canstar’s database for Australians aged 30-39, sorted by Star Rating, then by provider name (alphabetically). Please note the performance information shown in the table is for the investment option used by Canstar in rating the superannuation product. You can see the products most relevant to you by using the tabs to view results for a superannuation balance of $0-$55k, $55k-$100k or $100k-$250k. Use Canstar’s superannuation selector for a wider range of super funds.

What is a retail super fund?

Retail super funds are typically run by banks, investment companies and other financial institutions. The company that owns the fund generally aims to keep some profit and this is paid to shareholders of the company. Membership is typically open to anyone.

Some companies offering large retail super funds include:

  • AMP superannuation
  • BT superannuation
  • Colonial First State superannuation (Commonwealth Bank)
  • MLC superannuation (IOOF Holdings)
  • OnePath superannuation (IOOF Holdings)

According to Moneysmart, retail super funds often offer a range of investment options. Most retail funds range from medium to high cost, it says, but some retail funds will offer a low-cost alternative.

Compare retail superannuation funds

If you’re considering retail superannuation funds, the table below displays a snapshot of retail superannuation funds on Canstar’s database for Australians aged 30-39, sorted by Star Rating, then by provider name (alphabetically). Please note the performance information shown in the table is for the investment option used by Canstar in rating the superannuation product. You can see the products most relevant to you by using the tabs to view results for a superannuation balance of $0-$55k, $55k-$100k or $100k-$250k. Use Canstar’s superannuation selector for a wider range of super funds.