With what is looming as the worst year for super funds since the Superannuation Guarantee was introduced in 1992, AIST has called on the Government to prioritise a restoration of confidence in its reviews of the super system.

Fiona Reynolds, AIST chief executive, said yesterday that the (Ken) Henry and (Jeremy) Cooper reviews had the potential to bring about much-needed reform, however, the impact of lower super fund returns coupled with recent Budget changes had made the public extra sensitive to any further tinkering of the rules.

“While there is certainly room to reform our super system to ensure it is more efficient, more user-friendly and more equitable for the vast majority of Australians who earn less than the average wage, the Government also has a responsibility to ensure that Australians can plan for their retirement with confidence and that the Australian public has a better understanding about the long-term – and at times cyclical – nature of super,” she said.

Reynolds said AIST urged the new Minister for Superannuation, Chris Bowen, to deliver a strong message to the public that superannuation remained a key pillar of the retirement incomes system as well as a pillar of strength in the economy.

She was commenting on figures published by SuperRatings yesterday that showed most super funds would report negative returns of between 10 and 14 per cent for their balanced default options in the year to June.

While the average fund had a positive 6.25 per cent return for the three months to May, the year-to-date figure was still negative 12.91 per cent. The three-year figure to May was also still negative (minus 1.47 per cent) but five years showed a positive 4.75 per cent on average.

The top balanced fund options over the past five years were for BussQ (7.0 per cent), Catholic Super (6.5 per cent), HostPlus (6.3 per cent) and CareSuper (6.3 per cent).


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