Aussie super funds outperform global peers

Tim Stewart
— 1 minute read

AustralianSuper and the Future Fund have both marched up the rankings in the latest Towers Watson analysis of the largest 300 global pension funds.

New research by US publication Pensions & Investments and Towers Watson found the five-year compound growth rate for Australian superannuation funds in the top 300 was 11 per cent per annum.

Australia had 16 funds in the top 300 for 2014 (the same amount as 2013) and five funds in the top 100.


The Future Fund was the highest ranking Australian pension fund at 29th (up from 31st in 2013) with AustralianSuper close behind at 43rd (up from 47th).

QSuper (82nd), First State Super (97th) and UniSuper (100th) rounded out the top 100 for Australian funds.

The Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund remained the largest pension fund in the world with US$1.14 trillion in assets under management as at 31 Decemeber 2014, followed by Norway's Government Pension Fund (US$884 billion).

Taken together, the assets under management of the word's top 300 funds totalled US$15.4 trillion as at 31 December 2014.

Breaking the 300 funds into regions, North America experienced the most noticeable annualised growth during 2009-2014 at 7.6 per cent.

Europe and Asia Pacific showed growth rates of 7.1 per cent and 3.9 per cent, respectively.

Australia's impressive five-year compound growth rate of 11 per cent per annum is down to two factors, said Paul Newfield, senior investment consultant at Towers Watson Australia.

"[The first key] driver behind this growth is the net inflows resulting from the compulsory superannuation guarantee which continues to aid in growing Australia’s retirement savings.

"Perhaps more importantly the fact that Australian superannuation is 84 per cent defined contribution with a larger allocation to equities and other growth-orientated assets than other geographies," he said.

But the growth-oriented asset allocation of Australia funds could open up more risk in the future, he warned.

"With the context of more volatility finding its way into equity markets and with lower year-to-date returns in 2015 so far and more modest returns expected in the year to come, the real challenge for Australia’s retirement savings is how to continue to better diversify the drivers of superannuation fund returns," Mr Newfield said.

"Australia has progressed relatively well in this regard compared to many other countries."


Aussie super funds outperform global peers
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