Industry funds waltz past banks in super

Bernard Kellerman Insurance, funds and super

Over the last 12 months industry super funds have increased their lead over retail funds, where member satisfaction with financial performance is taken as the key criterion.

Applying this metric, nine of the top 12 performing funds over this period were industry funds, a Roy Morgan Research report has found.

In July 2019 62.8 per cent of people with superannuation in an industry fund reported being satisfied with the financial performance of their fund. This is up 1.1 per cent points on a year ago. It is also well above retail funds, on 57.4 per cent member satisfaction (down 1.2 percentage points).

The best performer across all major industry and retail funds was Cbus with 73.2 per cent of their members satisfied, followed by Catholic Super (71.3 per cent) and Unisuper (69.6 per cent).

The only three retail funds to make it to the top 12 were Macquarie with 68.2 per cent, Mercer on 64.4 per cent and Suncorp on 61.1 per cent. Interestingly, the largest increases in member satisfaction among the top 12 over the last year were also among three of these funds: Suncorp (9.9 per cent improvement, year-on-year), Cbus (8.8 per cent) and Macquarie (5.6 per cent).

The lowest satisfaction levels for major super funds were found among the members of BT and IOOF (both on 52.8 per cent), ASGARD (52.5 per cent) and AMP (49.5 per cent).

These results are based on interviews conducted with several thousand super fund members in the six months to July 2019.

Michele Levine, chief executive officer at Roy Morgan, said: "The decline in member satisfaction with retail super funds from a year ago [down by 1.2 percentage points to 57.4 per cent] shows there is more to managing superannuation than a high-flying share-market."

The Roy Morgan report also portrayed some "typical" super fund members. For instance, Cbus members were characterised as "middle-class, male, blue-collar Aussies earning $70,000 per annum from a full-time job, who don't obsess over their health ... [and] most likely a young parent with primary school aged kids.

"He’s more likely than the average Australian to enjoy watching soaps, reality TV and sport on TV, more likely to read fishing, motorcycle and motoring magazines and almost twice as likely to be a heavy commercial radio listener (more than three hours per day). ... He's far less likely to be a vegetarian ... [and] twice as likely as the average Australian to be a smoker," Roy Morgan stated.

In contrast, Macquarie members tend to be wealthier Australians in the 50-plus age group, who follow the financial news, according to Roy Morgan's pen portrait.

Macquarie super members are well-educated, well-off males with degrees or diplomas, with an average income of nearly $80,000 and an average household income of nearly $150,000.

"In terms of his financial views he 'prefers to invest in something with a safe return', 'likes to be well insured' and 'feels financially stable at the moment'," Roy Morgan reported.

"When it comes to media he's more than four times more likely than the average Australian to watch business-related shows on TV, and far more likely to watch sci-fi, drama and sports shows, more than twice as likely to read business, financial and airline magazines."

In contrast to his counterpart at Cbus, a Macquarie super fund member is more likely than the average Australian to be a non-smoker.