21 September 2016
Would you buy a house, not knowing what suburb it’s in? Or how many bedrooms it has? Or if it’s new or old? That’s what many of Australia’s largest super funds are asking you to do with your money – trust them.
For many people, super will be the most significant asset they ever own. Super is the only asset in which you’re required to invest, in some cases not in a fund of your choosing, yet you’re almost never told what assets you own. According to polling commissioned by Market Forces, a whopping 86% of Australians believe they have a right to know where their super is invested.
Our analysis of Australia’s fifty largest super funds found that 83% of assets are undisclosed, equating to nearly $1 trillion dollars. That bears repeating – $1 trillion dollars of assets – undisclosed.
Only one super fund in the entire country discloses its entire portfolio – Energy Super.
Only three other funds disclose more than 50% of their portfolio – HOSTPlus, Cbus and VicSuper. Average disclosure is just 17% across the fifty largest funds.
Nineteen funds disclose nothing of their investments. Nothing.
How much information does your fund disclose? To ask your fund to disclose more, click the link below.
|FUND||AUM ($M)||DISCLOSED %||UNDISCLOSED ($M)||EQUITIES||OTHER ASSETS*|
|CATHOLIC SUPER||7,300||41%||4,307||TOP 100||YES|
|FIRST STATE SUPER||55,200||36%||35,328||TOP 50||NO|
|LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPER||9,300||28%||6,696||TOP 30||YES|
|STATEWIDE SUPER||6,300||28%||4,536||TOP 20||NO|
|EQUIP SUPER||7,200||27%||5,256||TOP 20||YES|
|MEDIA SUPER||4,400||27%||3,212||TOP 20||YES|
|VISION SUPER||7,500||18%||6,150||TOP 20||NO|
|STATE SUPER||42,000||17%||34,860||TOP 50||NO|
|SUPER SA||20,700||17%||17,181||TOP 20||NO|
|CARE SUPER||11,200||17%||9,296||TOP 20||NO|
|COMMBANK GROUP SUPER||9,900||16%||8,316||TOP 20||NO|
|TELSTRA SUPER||17,200||14%||14,792||TOP 10||NO|
|NGS SUPER||6,900||12%||6,072||TOP 10||NO|
|COLONIAL FIRST STATE||71,000||0%||71,000||NONE||NO|
|MINE WEALTH + WELLBEING||9,400||0%||9,400||NONE||NO|
|RIO TINTO SUPER||5,200||0%||5,200||NONE||NO|
*Significant disclosure in asset classes other than Equities/Shares
It has been six years since the Cooper Review into the superannuation industry, which found that “‘systemic transparency’ is what is largely missing in the Australian super system”. It recommended that large funds “should be required to disclose their complete portfolio holdings on a six-monthly basis”, yet members are no closer to seeing that information today than they were in 2010.
Perhaps cynically, the super industry itself has lobbied to delay the disclosure of portfolio holdings, as recently as April this year. Providing a myriad of reason why their members couldn’t meet the 1 July 2016 deadline, the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) successfully lobbied to delay mandatory disclosure until 1 July 2017.
Earlier this month, Tom Garcia, the chief executive of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) declared that the super industry had done “an extraordinarily bad job” of communicating its investment story. For many members, it is a good story. But every good story starts and ends with the whole picture – something super members are sorely lacking.
To view the polling: See full report