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The best performing pension funds for 2021 revealed – is your pension in safe hands?

The best-performing pension funds for 2021 revealed amid warnings not to expect another peak year – so is your pension in safe hands?

  • Super-growth funds had an exceptional year, with median returns of 13.4%
  • HostPlus delivered 19.1 percent growth, nine Australian funds grew 15%
  • Analysts warn that such high growth is not normal, so 2022 could yield lower returns



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The best-performing super-funds of the past year have been revealed, with analysts calling 2021 a “remarkable” year as they tried to cool hopes of a repeat performance in 2022.

The top 55 Australian super-investment options delivered a median return of 13.4 percent last year, according to financial industry research firm Chant West.

The top performer in 2021 was HostPlus Balanced, with a whopping 19.1 percent return after fees and taxes, while that same fund was the first to tie for 10-year returns.

The top 55 Australian super investment options delivered a median return of 13.4% in the past year, according to financial industry research firm Chant West (stock image)

The top 55 Australian super investment options delivered a median return of 13.4% in the past year, according to financial industry research firm Chant West (stock image)

The top performer in 2021 was HostPlus Balanced, with a whopping 19.1 percent return after fees and taxes

The top performer in 2021 was HostPlus Balanced, with a whopping 19.1 percent return after fees and taxes

The top performer in 2021 was HostPlus Balanced, with a whopping 19.1 percent return after fees and taxes

Nine funds had returns of 15 percent or better for the calendar year.

SunSuper and ChristianSuper topped 16 percent, while Mine Super and TelstraSuper were close, achieving returns of 15.9 percent.

But Chant West Senior Investment Research Manager Mano Mohankumar warned that history shows that super doesn’t often continue to deliver such strong returns.

“Super-funds have had a great year with median returns of 13.4 percent, but returns at that level should not be considered normal,” he said.

“The typical long-term goal for growth funds is to beat inflation by 3.5 percent per year, which is about 5.5 to 6 percent.”

Median returns for Australian super-funds for calendar years have tended to fluctuate between great and marginally positive in recent times.

In 2020, the top funds returned just 3.6 percent, after a huge 14.7 percent in 2019, down from one percent in 2018, with a return of 10.8 percent in 2017.

Since the introduction of mandatory super contributions in Australia, only four years have yielded negative returns, including the horror -21.5 result in 2008, the year of the GFC

The 2021 result was “remarkable,” Mr Mohankumar said, especially given the ongoing disruption and health problems caused by the pandemic.

“A year ago, we marveled at how funds had managed to deliver positive returns despite the financial market carnage in February and March 2020 as the COVID crisis unfolded,” he said.

HostPlus and AustralianSuper both delivered an average return of 10.7 percent per year for the past 10 years

HostPlus and AustralianSuper both delivered an average return of 10.7 percent per year for the past 10 years

HostPlus and AustralianSuper both delivered an average return of 10.7 percent per year for the past 10 years

Since the introduction of mandatory super contributions in Australia, only four years have yielded negative returns, including the horror -21.5 result in 2008, the year of the GFC

Since the introduction of mandatory super contributions in Australia, only four years have yielded negative returns, including the horror -21.5 result in 2008, the year of the GFC

Since the introduction of mandatory super contributions in Australia, only four years have yielded negative returns, including the horror -21.5 result in 2008, the year of the GFC

“We said at the time that 2021 could be challenging, but the funds have once again exceeded expectations by achieving a 10th consecutive positive return.”

The consistent component contributing to the high returns was the performance of equities – especially international equities, Chant West found.

“Australian equities gained 17.5 per cent, while international equities were up 24.3 per cent in hedged terms,” said Mr Mohankumar.

HostPlus and AustralianSuper have achieved an average return of 10.7 percent each year for the past 10 years.

UniSuper showed an average growth of 10.6 percent, while Cbus MySuper, VicSuper and SunSuper all surpassed 10 percent over the decade.

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