Total superannuation assets will have passed $1 trillion for the first time when APRA publishes its next figures, for the period to December 31, 2006, within the next week.

The total for managed funds, which include double counting of assets through various multi-manager products but do not include discretely managed institutional assets, passed the $1 billion mark last year. The APRA superannuation figures are considered the best-available guide to overall growth in the funds management industry, even though they do not include non-super managed fund investments. Ross Jones, the deputy chair of APRA, told the FEAL executive forum in Melbourne last Thursday that, with superannuation growth, earnings and fund consolidation, the average fund has grown to be about seven times the size of the average fund in 2001. The consolidation, which has led to about 1,200 ‘trustees’ (large funds) winding up or transferring their funds between the licensing system’s commencement in June 2004 and completion in June 2006, has meant larger and more complex entities. “The industry is increasingly resembling other regulated sectors, such as the banks, so it should expect the same sort of scrutiny,” Jones said. “In the past two years we have gone from a situation where we had many well-meaning amateurs to a situation which is now highly professional.” As at June 30 last year, there were 307 ‘trustees’, of which 16 were extended public offer funds, 108 public offer funds, 176 non-public offer funds and seven groups of ‘individual’ trustees. In terms of assets, retail funds accounted for 33 per cent, SMSFs 26 per cent, industry funds 18 per cent, public sector funds 18 per cent and corporate funds 6 per cent. Jones said the rate of growth for SMSFs had declined in the past 12 months.

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