UniSuper opens to all Australians: How does it compare to other super funds?

UniSuper has opened its doors to new members who work outside the university and research sectors, in a move that’s expected to increase competition in the superannuation market and potentially open up future merger opportunities for the fund, experts predict.
UniSuper open to all
UniSuper will now be open to workers outside the university and research industry. Image: Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock.com

Industry super fund UniSuper announced on Monday it was open for any workers to join for the first time, having previously only been available to new members who worked in higher education and research roles. The move would bring “additional competition to what is already quite a competitive marketplace,” Independent financial planner David Sharpe told Canstar.

The fund currently holds around $100 billion in funds under management, including over $12 billion in sustainable options, on behalf of approximately 450,000 members, making it Australia’s fifth-largest fund by funds under management at the time of writing. To put its size into perspective, the largest super fund in the country, AustralianSuper, manages more than $225 billion in retirement savings on behalf of more than 2.5 million members.

Canstar finance expert Effie Zahos said recent legislative changes to encourage super funds to merge could also have played a factor in the fund’s decision to open up.

“Opening membership also opens UniSuper to future merger opportunities, which is something we are seeing a lot more of now,” Ms Zahos said.

She said the super fund was competitive already, but opening its membership could enable the fund to reduce its fees further and hopefully boost returns.

How does UniSuper compare on fees and returns?

When it comes to net investment performance, UniSuper’s Balanced investment profile has returned 8.78% per year on average in the past five years, compared to a market average of 7.54%, and charges $326 in fees annually compared to the market average of $574, according to Canstar’s analysis of super funds on our database for a 35-year-old worker with $50,000 in super.

UniSuper CEO Kevin O’Sullivan said the fund’s member focus, performance and growing scale would be even more important as regulatory change and industry consolidation continued to reshape the super sector.

“I’m extremely confident UniSuper will continue to go from strength to strength while staying true to its purpose of delivering greater retirement outcomes for all members,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

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This content was reviewed by Sub Editor Tom Letts and Deputy Editor Sean Callery as part of our fact-checking process.