CHOICE membership

Superannuation - Best Funds


#1

In the news today due to the productivity commission report into Super funds. Much of the commentary reports that the best funds are already very well know. That there are several good sources of this data. I have heard of Canstar doing this, but am not aware of any others. Is this a suitable topic for Choice, ie, a review of these reviewers of sources of Financial products and their quality and independence.

Related to this is how easy and costly is it to move from one fund to another, (say from industry fund to retail) and how easy it is to switch funds within a Fund (from cash to property or ethical)


#2

If you want to rollover from one fund to another, most times the fund you wish to rollover to does most of the work. You sometimes need to provide a bit more detail but it isn’t normally onerous. It comes down to mostly that people don’t ask. Costs are normally not high but funds can and do charge for establishing a policy.

Switching the way your funds are handled are very similar unless the particular investment fund has a set investment profile. Then this may require rolling over from that particular investment stream to a new investment stream, that depending on your Super business can cause them to charge fees for the change but some do not.


#3

@grahroll is right on for ‘modern’ super, but some people still have ‘archaic’ that had huge exit fees. Not all of those ‘fine respectable’ companies that sold such super plans for decades are happy to relinquish their trailing fees nor high costs, nor ridiculous exit fees.

Bottom line is if you have a decades old fund, read the PDS about its fee structure. If it appears to have draconian fees give them a ring to see if it can be sorted to a reasonable level. If an old one can be sorted, or you have a ‘modern’ fund, it is usually as easy as a single form, albeit sometimes having a few pages.


#4

My experience is that it can be very easy to (consolidate) move super from one fund into another (existing fund). Having done this many times, over the past 20 years, it has become easier each time. It only needs a phone call, or perhaps an online chat session to set the wheels in motion.

I’ve never had to pay a fee or loose any super in the process. The fund I have been transferring to has provided the forms by mail. Typically I may have needed to provide a certified copy of my ID (EG from a JP), and paid a few dollars to return the docs using a priority tracable mail service.

In respect of asset allocations within funds the rules seem to vary too much for there to be one simple answer. Some allow free switching or changes with limits on how often. Others based on your age lock your allocations to their own rules.

Typically my experience of industry funds is that they are the least flexible, but best performing. The retail funds with a few exceptions have been the most flexible, but much more variable in their performance.

I’ve had approx 20 different super accounts in a full lifetime of employment. The system certainly needs reform in many areas, providing it is for the increased benefit of the customer and not the provider?