Australian major super funds were back on track after the global financial crisis, posting their fifth positive monthly result this financial year, according to the major fund raters.

SuperRatings said Australia’s median major super fund gained a further 1.0 per cent during the month of January 2011, leaving the average Australian in a balanced option some 8 per cent better off since their last statements as at June 30, 2010.

This result, coupled with the median result of 9.8 per cent for the 2009-10 financial year, was slowly helping people forget the global financial crisis as they saw their super investment returns moving to within 5 per cent of the peak reached in October 2007, the eve of the GFC.

Chant West said the funds’ gains come on the back of strong overseas share markets, especially in the US.

International shares posted a gain after fees and taxes of 2.8 per cent; however it was Australian shares that continued to be the key driver of super fund returns, with a post-tax/fee environment of over 12 per cent this financial year, according to SuperRatings.

“The positive momentum in Australian and overseas share markets has carried through to February, so the financial year gain is now approaching double digits,” said Chant West director, Warren Chant.

While the full impact of the recent Queensland floods and the Yasi cyclone on shorter-term growth, inflation and interest rates are yet to be seen, Chant did not t expect a major impact on longer-term growth.

SuperRatings remained confident that the mid-to long-term performance of Australia’s major super funds would continue to show solid growth.

With the events of the GFC passing into the subconscious of many, and super funds appearing to be back in a growth phase, SuperRatings managing director, Jeff Bresnahan, said for many the GFC brought home the need to understand the risk of just leaving “super to the experts”.

“What is good for one is not necessarily good for the next. Australians must take some responsibility for their super and in particular their choice of fund and their choice of investments. A professional independent advisory system will go a long way to helping Australians come to grips with their financial challenges in retirement,” he said.

On another positive note, the Australian share market is officially back in the black, with SuperRatings reporting the rolling three year returns for the S&P/ASX 200, which has been overwhelmed by negative returns for the last two years, has finally emerged with a positive 0.1 per cent for the three years ended January 31 2011.

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