Four new funds have been named as finalists for this year’s SuperRatings’ Fund of the Year award, with First State Super and NGS Super making the cut for the first time in the award’s history. REST and Telstra Super have joined Australian Super, Catholic Super, HESTA, HOSTPLUS, QSuper and Sunsuper in the list of 10 finalists this year, with the winner announced at the 7th annual awards night due to take place on 13 October in Melbourne. Jeff Bresnahan, managing director of SuperRatings, said the top 10 remained dominated by the not-for-profit sector, which over the long term rated ahead of the for-profit sector on both fees and returns. Seven of the 10 finalists are traditional industry funds.

Bresnahan said investment performance was one of the key drivers behind the changes in the finalists this year, with First State Super’s low allocation to unlisted relative to other funds holding it in good stead for the five year performance numbers. First State also had the lowest fees in the industry, he added. NGS is the smallest of the funds to make the shortlist, its insurance benefits and member communications both contributing to its entrée into the top 10, according to Bresnahan. “REST is back in after hiatus last year,” he said.

“They run reasonably conservative portfolios and that in the last two years has, not surprisingly, seen investment performance start to rise into top quartile again.” He praised Telstra Super, another new addition, for its “extremely low fees”, adding that the fund had passed on fee reductions to members three years running – in 2005, 2006 and 2007. “They have top 10 investment performance for a lot of their options over one, three and five years,” he said.

“They have an exceptional financial advice model, so members are encouraged and provided with great financial services which in turn has allowed Telstra to have a much higher than average retention rate of retiring and departing members.” This year Australian Super, HESTA, MTAA, REST and Sunsuper will be awarded seven-year Platinum performance as the only five funds to be rated “Platinum” by SuperRatings for the last seven years. SuperRatings will also announce the winners of Pension Fund of the Year, “Rising Star” and Best New Product at the awards ceremony.

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