With a huge array of government initiatives reshaping super in recent years, none was more keenly watched than the inaugural performance test of 80 MySuper products.
The regulator found that 13 of the 80 products assessed were deemed to have underperformed the benchmark by more than 50 basis points. Since August when the results were released, 77% of these providers have announced their intentions to either merge or exit the industry.
This year, we expect to see the second round of MySuper results likely causing some MySuper solutions to be prevented from accepting new members. This will be accompanied by the first assessment of Choice options under the test. SuperRatings has conducted analysis of the industry’s performance to 31 March 2022, using its newly developed Performance Test iQ tool. Analysis was completed on over 650 options across Trustee Directed Products, including Retail, Industry, Corporate, and Government funds, excluding MySuper products.
The results from our analysis suggest that approximately 20% of options were estimated to fail the test, which allows for annualised underperformance of the benchmark of up to 50 basis points.
|Option Type||% Estimated to Fail|
|Capital Stable (20-40)||25%|
|Conservative Balanced (41-59)||20%|
|High Growth (91-100)||26%|
Breaking down the analysis further, SuperRatings found that all option types are facing challenges. In particular, options with growth assets, such as equities, making up between 91-100% of assets held were most likely to fail the test, with 26% of these options estimated as failing based on performance over the 8 years to 31 March 2022. Capital Stable options with between 20-40% growth assets are also facing a challenge to pass the test, with around a quarter of these options estimated as failing.
As the performance test captures investment returns over an eight-year period, funds have limited ability to shift their relative long-term position against the benchmark. However, with the test only accounting for the most recent level of fees charged, funds do have the ability to make fee changes to improve their performance test outcomes.
SuperRatings has been tracking an estimate of the benchmark representative administration fees and expenses (RAFE) based on the performance test calculation. While the test appears to be having an impact in terms of reducing fees for the MySuper products which were tested last year, our analysis shows that the Trustee Directed Product RAFE has remained flat.
We observed a decline in the RAFE for MySuper products each quarter since the start of the financial year, however the Trustee Directed Product RAFE saw an increase in the September quarter, followed by a return to the same RAFE in December 2021 and has remained stable since.
Since the results of the first test were published, we have observed an increase in funds seeking to simplify their investment menus, as well as a faster pace of merger announcements and shorter times for mergers to reach completion. While there are clear cost savings for funds in managing fewer options, the benefits of member choice are real, with highly engaged members particularly valuing additional choice. We suggest funds take a balanced approach when assessing the viability of offering additional options to ensure members achieve the best possible retirement outcomes.
The first performance test has had a significant impact on the future of those products which failed. Having an industry wide benchmark gives funds a clear target with significant potential benefit for members, however ensuring the test is appropriately capturing the nuances of the range of investment options in the industry remains a challenge. The regulator will be releasing the results of its second annual performance test later this year, with the industry closely monitoring potential outcomes. As the industry awaits the results of the second test, SuperRatings continues to use its comprehensive database and deep research capability to gain key insights into super fund performance and the future outlook for the industry.