As superannuation funds finalise the tally on their December portfolio returns, industry fund Hostplus is in pole position to emerge as the top-performing fund for 2016.

Research house SuperRatings has estimated the median return from the balanced investment options super funds offered in December was 2.10 per cent, which would cap a year in which the median return was 7.20 per cent.

Final figures for December, and thereby the full 2016 calendar year, are due to be released in late January.

For the 11 months to November 30, 2016, the median return across all balanced funds was 5.00 per cent.

At November 30, Hostplus, a $20 billion industry fund for workers in the hospitality sector, was top of the annual SuperRatings league table for balanced options, with a net return over the calendar year to date of 8.15 per cent.

Balanced funds are the type in which most Australian workers have their compulsory retirement savings invested by default.

Non-profit industry funds look set to dominate the performance league tables for 2016. Also jostling for top spot was Catholic Super, with a return of 7.88 per cent over the 11 months, followed by Cbus Super at 7.31 per cent. Rounding out the top five were CareSuper, at 7.29 per cent, and Energy Super at 7.01 per cent.

Analysis by SuperRatings also shows Hostplus among the top three performing funds over investment horizons of three and five years.

MTAA Super ranked first over three years, at 8.6 per cent, while Cbus Super was on top over five years, with a return of 10.8 per cent.

Source: SuperRatings
Source: SuperRatings

SuperRatings chief executive Adam Gee said the best-performing asset classes for super funds in 2016 were Australian shares (up 11.8 per cent), listed property (up 13.2 per cent) and overseas shares (up 7.9 per cent on a hedged basis).

“We haven’t seen the index return for unlisted property as yet, but this is likely to have also supported returns for the not-for-profit sector in particular,” Gee said.

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