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Boom market cuts super fees

By Madeleine Collins
2 minute read

Super fees are falling as the market climbs to new heights and baby boomers shore up retirement savings.

Booming markets and higher account balances have cut super fund fees, but lost super and legacy products remain a sore point for the industry.

A Rice Warner Actuaries report for the Investment and Financial Services Association (IFSA) found the average fees charged to super fund members were 1.26 per cent of assets for the year to June 2006.

This was a marginal reduction since the last survey in 2004, where fees averaged 1.3 per cent.

The largest reductions in fees occurred in large corporate super master trusts, and retail, personal super and small funds.

Financial advice costs fell over the period, particularly in the retail personal super and retirement income segments, which saw around a 0.3 per cent decrease.

This was due to increased competition, higher balances and reduced contribution fees.

"This is an intensely competitive industry and strong competition is working for consumers," IFSA chief executive Richard Gilbert said.

Lost super funds, or eligible rollover funds, charged higher than average fees of 2.53 per cent, in part due to low average account balances.

"Getting the 'merge multiple accounts' message out to the consumer is an area where industry still has work to do," Gilbert said.

The report also found that while the number of older-style legacy products had declined, they charged higher fees.

"There is still a pressing need for the rationalisation of legacy products, an issue we will continue to work with government, regulators and the tax office to address," Gilbert said.

Investment management fees increased slightly by 0.04 per cent due to a move towards performance-based fees, good investment returns and increased investment in non-listed assets.