The world’s biggest open-air shopping centre

AustralianSuper members own 25% of Ala Moana Center in Hawaii. Let’s take a look at the size and scale of this exciting investment.

Watch video
Scroll to discover more

Our member investments

The journey into 2017

As an AustralianSuper member, you can sit back and enjoy the journey as we travel the world in search of the best investments – and discover a few in our own backyard.

Read More

Buckle in for a journey into 2017

Globe

A journey around some of the world’s best investments. Partly owned by AustralianSuper members like you

Starting in our own backyard
The Ausgrid electricity network

AustralianSuper members own 33%

Transurban Queensland

AustralianSuper members own 25%

Medical Research Commercialisation Fund. Helping develop promising health technologies

All helping your savings to grow, while also supporting vital services in the community.

A bit further afield, there's the Ala Moana center, the world's largest open-air shopping centre.

AustralianSuper members own 25%

And the King's Cross estate redevelopment project in London

AustralianSuper members own 67.5%
$100 billion+

in members’ retirement savings
Gives you access to these better investments

And lower costs, which means more benefits.

Investing across these quality, diversified assets helps your savings weather the market’s ups and downs.

Just like in 2016...

AustralianSuper Balanced Option
– 12 months to 31 December 2016

So let’s look ahead to a rewarding year

Find out more about the journey ahead

Let's get going
Investment returns are not guaranteed. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

The world’s largest open-air shopping centre

Ala Moana Center in Hawaii is the world’s largest open-air shopping centre, and AustralianSuper owns 25 per cent of the space. Here we put in the context of Australia’s key shopping destinations.

Read More
Extra Sizes

The world's largest
open-air shopping centre

Ala Moana Center in Hawaii is the
world's largest open-air shopping centre,
and AustralianSuper members own 25% of
the space. But what size are we talking?
Here we put in the context of Australia's key
shopping destinations.

Shopping Number Graph

Ala Moana Center
in numbers

48 Million shoppers annually 340 Stores 80 Dining more than 1 billion in sales every year AustralianSuper members own 25%
The world's biggest shopping center

More of what matters

  1. Taking Australian medical research to the world

    Taking Australian medical research to the world

    AustralianSuper members are helping make a difference to the health and quality of life of people around the world, by bringing important medical innovations to life.

    Read more
    AustralianSuper

    Taking Australian medical research to the world

    AustralianSuper members are helping make a difference to the health and quality of life of people around the world, by bringing important medical innovations to life. They’re also benefiting financially from the successful launch of Australian medical products in markets all over the world.

    Australia is a global leader in medical research. In fact, our largest manufacturing export industry is medicinal and pharmaceutical products. It is worth $4 billion a year to the Australian economy and employs more than 40,000 people.

    “AustralianSuper has been an early and enthusiastic supporter of the medical research industry”, says Terry Charalambous, Investment Manager at AustralianSuper. “Through our investment partners, like the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), we have access to the work of more than 60 medical research institutes in Australia.”

    “One of the advantages of our size and expertise, is that members gain access to exciting opportunities at an early stage. This is a real bonus as it means we get to pick from the best investment opportunities, which have the greatest capacity to grow in value over time.”

    Bringing the best ideas to life

    Doctors, scientists and students in universities, research institutes and hospitals around the country are making medical discoveries every day that have the potential to change people’s lives.

    The Australian government contributes around $9 billion a year to research and development to institutions like these to come up with new ideas.

    Without the support of investors like AustralianSuper members, bringing those ideas from proven ideas to functioning businesses is difficult.

    It’s a long journey involving teams of medical researchers, clinical specialists, business managers and investors and government. And given its direct impact on people’s health, it’s not surprising that the industry is highly regulated with lots of checks and balances along the way.

    Here’s how the process works:

    Discovery phase
    Once an idea has been discovered, it needs to be tested to see if it can be developed into a product concept. The research behind the idea is proven and reviewed by medical researchers working in universities, research institutes or hospitals– this step can be funded by the government or industry.

    Clinical development phase

    If an idea passes this test, it then goes into clinical development, which also requires money from investors or the government. This is where a drug, treatment or medical device is developed that can then be tested on real patients in clinical trials to prove it is safe and effective.

    Approval, registration and production stages

    Products that make it through this stage, then need approval from the relevant authority (like the FDA in the US) before they can be sold. A start-up company might be formed at this stage to manufacture and take the product to market.

    Terry Charalambous points out that: “Once a product is brought to market, it is protected by patents (making it difficult to produce copies like in other industries), which is what makes it such an attractive investment.”

    “AustralianSuper invests at different stages of the process, taking its pick of the very best ideas. There are many opportunities to make profits along the way. For example, sometimes the companies we invest in that develop these products are sold or listed on a stock exchange.”

    A long-term investment with long-term benefits

    AustralianSuper is one of the largest Australian investors in helping to move medical research ideas into business. The MRCF, which AustralianSuper members invest in, is able to look across all of Australia for the best ideas that have been developed through hospitals and universities. The size and scale of AustralianSuper gives us a real advantage in this area. It allows us to invest in the very best ideas and help Australians’ take these ideas to the world while at the same time growing our members’ retirement savings.

    Investing in medical research innovations takes time to pay off, but the rewards can be significant.

    Chris Nave, Principal Executive at MRCF said: “The shortest time from investment to exit for us has been five years, but in many ways it makes it’s a perfect asset class in superannuation because they have a very long-term investment horizon for their members,” he said.

    It’s for this reason that medical research suits an investment like superannuation. Unlike assets geared to a short term gain, medical research is a long-term investment that aims to make incremental improvements that lead to larger benefits – for people’s lives, the Australian economy and members’ retirement incomes.

    The impact of the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund

    Making a cup of tea, jotting down a note or walking down the street are things we often take for granted. But for people living with chronic illness, ordinary tasks like these can be a struggle.

    The MRCF is helping to change that. It develops technologies and innovations that help people with health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and heart and genetic diseases.

    MRCF breakthroughs

    Global Kinetics Corporation developed a wrist-worn device to help people with Parkinson’s manage their disease wherever they are.

    Sold in 17 countries and manufactured in Australia, this smartwatch looking device “can be the difference between being able to work and being confined to home,” said Chris Nave, Principal Executive at MRCF. “Patients that haven’t been able to go out on their own for two or three years are now back out shopping or playing tennis.”

    Cardiora is a drug developed by cardiologists at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne for heart failure patients. People with this condition have trouble getting up and out of a chair and getting to the kettle, and can be in and out of hospital every few weeks for treatment. This new drug is in tablet form so patients can take it at home and stay out of hospital for longer.

    Osprey Medical developed a medical device that reduces the amount of toxic dye going into people’s kidneys when they have an angiogram or stent put in. It has since been approved for sale by the FDA, the US government’s regulatory authority, and is now being rolled out to a potential total market in the US of over $1 billion.

    Looking for more information on what matters? Head back to the It Matters page for more stories on your investments and more.

     

    The views expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and not necessarily of AustralianSuper. The interviewee made their comments based on their experience and expertise. Members should obtain the PDS at australiansuper.com, assess their own financial situation and consider obtaining financial advice before making an investment decision.

    The investment world tour

    The investment world tour

    From Boston to India and Hawaii, the dream of owning a global portfolio becomes a reality for AustralianSuper members.

    Read more
    AustralianSuper

    Imagine, you’ve just hopped off the plane in Hawaii, where you’re off to visit Waikiki beach and do a spot of retail therapy at your shopping centre investment. Next stop is Spain – the weather’s a sunny 32 degrees.  As a part owner of retail giant Inditex, it’d be a shame not to pop into Zara for a shopping spree in its home country.

    With hundreds of investments across countries and continents, every AustralianSuper member has a part ownership in the investments we make on your behalf. This spans some of the world’s top household brands, shopping centres, roads and ports, medical research, and many more.

    So if like most AustralianSuper members, you’re in our Balanced option, we’d like to introduce you to a few of your investments

    US

    Ala Moana, Hawaii

    Ala Moana is the largest open-air shopping centre in the world – and is even larger than Australia’s biggest retail centres  Chadstone and Westfield Sydney. Catering to 48 million shoppers annually, it’s among the busiest retail centres in the world and AustralianSuper members own around a quarter of it. 

    75 State Street, Boston

    A 31-story office tower located in the heart of the financial district in one of the leading cities in the United States. 75 State Street is 841,000 square feet and AustralianSuper members own almost half of it.

    TripAdvisor, Needham, Massachusetts

    It’s been used by hundreds of millions of people, and you own part of it: TripAdvisor. One of the early adopters of user-generated content, TripAdvisor has more than 320 million reviews and opinions on more than 120,000 destinations. So next time you’re plotting a day trip or your next investment world tour, head there and see what your investment has to say

    UK

    King’s Cross, London

    AustralianSuper members own more than two-thirds of a major city redevelopment site next to King’s Cross station in London. Covering more than 740,000 square metres, the area is being transformed into an exciting place to live, work and play with 50 new buildings, 10 parks, 2,000 new homes, hotels, galleries and more.

    Europe

    Inditex, Spain

    If you’ve ever shopped at a Zara, then you’re directly contributing to your own bottom line – Inditex is headquartered in Galicia, Spain and is one of the largest fashion retailers in the world. So next time you’re trying to justify that new shirt or skirt, you could put it down as an investment into your future in more ways than one.

    Asia

    Baidu, Beijing

    Baidu is China’s Google, with services that span search, multimedia and discussion forums. And with revenues in the billions, it’s the blue chip investment you have to have in the Chinese market. So while you may not have heard of Baidu in your day-to-day life, it’s a powerhouse in the Chinese market and you own a part of it.

    Zee Entertainment, Mumbai, India

    India makes up almost 18 per cent of the global population at more than 1.3 billion. And those 1.3 billion people have a long standing tradition of embracing media and entertainment with both hands. Zee Entertainment, based in Mumbai, is bringing that media and entertainment to the masses, with 35 channels globally. They’re a powerhouse on the global publishing scene, and you own part of them.

    Australia

    Transurban Queensland, Brisbane

    Transurban Queensland operates a network of roads, tunnels and bridges throughout the greater Brisbane area. These include the Gateway and Logan motorways, the Go-Between Bridge and the Legacy Way, CLEM7 and AirportLink tunnels. In fact, AustralianSuper members are part owners of all toll roads in Queensland.  Next time you’re zipping across the Brisbane CBD, you’ll be saving time and adding to your investment.

    Medical Research Commercialisation Fund, Melbourne and Sydney

    The Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) brings early stage medical research to life, helping to improve the future health of Australians and bringing hope to people suffering from serious illness. It provides funding to develop technologies and innovations that help detect, prevent and treat health conditions including diabetes, cancer and heart and genetic diseases.

     

    So, why invest globally?

    AustralianSuper’s Head of Property, Jack McGougan says that having a portfolio of quality investments both locally and globally means better returns for members, and that leads to better retirement outcomes.

    “We’ve been able to access the very best opportunities for our members –and many of these assets are simply not available within Australia.

    “An example of this is our property assets.  These are quite unique and aim to provide consistent earnings to our members for years to come underpinned by rent from major international tenants such as Bloomingdales, Macy’s and Marks and Spencer. We also develop and renovate assets so they can grow in value over time.”

    Take the Ala Moana tour now – watch video

    Looking for more information on what matters? Head back to the It Matters page for more stories on your investments and more.

    5 things that get better with age

    5 things that get better with age

    What do cheese and super have in common? They both need time to be at their best. We explore the things in life that just get better with age.

    Read more
    AustralianSuper

    We live in a society obsessed with the new. The hot new restaurant. The new season fashion. The new model mobile that makes your old one feel like a brick.

    But there are some things that just keep getting better with time – whiskey, cheese, collectables and super. Here we explore why.

    1. Whiskey

    There’s a reason that whiskeys often have their age stamped on the bottle as a selling point. Age is kind to whiskey. As it ages in a barrel, whiskey draws in flavours from the wood itself – caramel or vanilla or spice notes. And to a certain extent, the older it is, the better it gets. Between six years and ten years is considered optimal for bourbon, and around twenty is perfect for scotch.  And that’s just the flavour.

    Then we get to the price. In 2015, rare whiskey outperformed wine and even gold as an investment, rising by 14%. If you can save it that long.

    1. Antiques

    Of course craftsmanship was slightly better when furniture didn’t come in a flat pack, and the craftsmanship of days gone by is, well, gone.

    But that doesn’t mean you’re sitting on a goldmine. According to the Wall Street Journal the bottom has fallen out of the market for ‘brown furniture’ – you know, the really old stuff. But that didn’t stop a chair from selling for US$28,341,909 in 2009. Granted, it was a chair handcrafted in 1917 and once owned by Yves Saint Laurent, but still, it’s a chair. Might be worth having a dig around the garage to see what you’ve got.

    1. Cheese

    While we keep it in the fridge, cheese probably has more in common with wine than we think. Cheese is made up of milk, enzymes and bacteria. And bacteria are living things: they continue to go through the lactose in the cheese, making the taste stronger and sharper. Which mean that cheese doesn’t stop developing until it’s on a cracker with some quince paste.

    Some cheeses that age well are French Comte, that becomes more complex after 18 months, or aged goudas, that get a crystalised quality and butterscotchy flavours.

    1. Toys

    Did you ever have a toy you loved so much that you played with it until it fell apart? You may live to regret that, because vintage toys can have serious value. An original 1933 Monopoly board went for US$146,500 in 2011. An original Luke Skywalker figure can go for as much as $25,000. Even toys from the 90s have value: A tamagotchi can go for US$200 these days, a Furby (remember them?) can go for as much as $400, and a rare Pokemon card is worth $20,000.

    1. Super

    While a chair or a bottle of whiskey might spike in value, super typically improves over time. It might not be the sexy option in a dusty bottle, but it can grow your savings more over time than a lot of other investments.

    Take AustralianSuper’s popular Balanced option. It has weathered the storms of the GFC and other market fluctuations over the last 20 years, rewarding members who have stayed the course.

    This chart shows how if you invested $10,000 in the Balanced option 20 years ago you would now have almost $47,000. If you’d put the same amount in cash you would only have around $26,000.*

    ASU0219-chart v5

    This graph compares the value of $10,000 invested in AustralianSuper’s Balanced option against the Bloomberg Ausbond Bank Bill Index – a common measure for cash returns – from 1 July 1996 to 30 June 2016.

    *Investment returns are not guaranteed. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

    The numbers of the super gender gap

    The numbers of the super gender gap

    Why does the super gender gap exist? We round up the facts and figures showing the story of super for Australian women today.

    Read more
    AustralianSuper The average salary for a woman is almost 18% less than for a man

    18%

    The average salary for a woman is almost 18% less than for a man

    The number of extra days women need to work in order to earn the same as a man's yearly salary

    28%

    of women in a national survey said super should be included in maternity leave entitlements

    4 in 5 4 in 5

    women take a break from the workforce, generally to have and raise children

    The total average female earnings

    Retire with less super than men

    The percentage of women who believe they are more likely to retire with less super than men

    women retire earlier than expected

    50% Amount

    Australian women retire with

    50%

    the amount of savings when compared to men

    1/3

    women retire without super

    Women retire without super

    The average retirement payout for women is

    Women retire without super
  2. Closing the super gender gap: what can women do

    Closing the super gender gap: what can women do

    Around 90% of women are likely to retire with too little in super savings to fund a comfortable lifestyle. However there are few things you could do to get your super savings heading in the right direction.

    Read more
    AustralianSuper

    Closing the super gender gap: what can women do?

    The average retirement payout for women is $112,600. For men, it’s $198,000. Closing the super gender gap is an important task with no one simple answer.

    But in the face of a complex issue, there are practical steps that women can take in order to ensure that when they retire, they have adequate means to live comfortably.

    Here we round up the best advice and practical steps that women can take to secure their financial future.

    Take charge

    Becoming familiar with your finances and getting to know how your super works can make the difference between ignoring and engaging with your financial future.

    The first step is to find out how much income your super will provide in retirement, and the steps you can take to increase it.

    Get advice from your super fund on how best to manage your assets. In a recent panel discussion on the topic of women and super, Heather Ridout, Chair of AustralianSuper asserted, “Showing the benefits of better money management and creating greater choices and opportunities is a way that we can benefit Australian women and help them prepare for a comfortable retirement.”

    Start early

    Whilst it may seem like an obvious suggestion, if you’re at the beginning of your career opening an account and starting to save can make a big impact on your balance in the future.

    Over the course of your career, the returns will add up, and you’ll be well on your way to securing a comfortable financial future.

    With two in five women retiring earlier than expected, early engagement with your super savings will reap the biggest rewards.

    Combine your super

    If you’ve ever had more than one job, chances are you’ll have multiple super accounts. Combining these means you’ll stop paying multiple fees, and only be managing one account. Which means less paper work to deal with, and fewer fees to pay. Consider choosing one fund where the fees are low ¬and where profit goes back to members.

    Some funds may charge an exit fee for transferring your account so it’s a good idea to check this, but doing so could mean you end up saving thousand of dollars in the long term. You should also check the effect a transfer may have on other benefits, such as insurance cover, before making a decision.

    Plan ahead

    With women more likely to take a break from the workforce to have and raise children or look after family members, it’s crucial to plan ahead to make sure that you’re still able to contribute to your super.
    Making voluntary contributions is key – the accumulating power of these added extras can make a huge difference over time. Even adding 1% extra over a few years could make a real difference.

    For almost two decades, the gender pay gap has stagnated at 17.5%. The facts say that when it comes to super, saving adequacy is crucial for women. By actioning some simple steps in planning for the future, we can work together to close this gap.

     

    1. www.superannuation.asn.au/media-release-27-february-2015
    2. www.australiansuper.com/superannuation/women-and-super.aspx
    3. Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees, Super-Poor But Surviving: Experiences of Australian Women in Retirement (2011) www.aist.asn.au
    4. www.australiansuper.com/~/media/Files/MediaReleases/2013/Women%20and%20the%20super%20gender%20gap.ashx
    *AustralianSuper Pty Ltd (ABN 94 006 457 987) of 33/50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne,   Victoria, collects your personal information (PI) to send you copies of the IT Matters       newsletter. If we can’t collect your PI we may not be able to do this. We will only share    your PI where necessary to send you the newsletters with service providers, as required by law or court/tribunal order, or with your permission. Our Privacy Policy details how to access and change your PI, as well as the privacy complaints process. For complete        details on the above go to www.australiansuper.com/CollectionStatement and               www.australiansuper.com/privacy or call us on 1300 300 273.

    Designing for millions

    Designing for millions

    London’s King’s Cross Station is a central hub for millions of people each year. Its recent redevelopment meant cultivating a space to fit its iconic status.

    Read more
    AustralianSuper
    Designing for millions

    Designing for millions

    London’s King’s Cross Station is a central hub for millions of people each year. Its recent redevelopment meant cultivating a space to fit its iconic status.

    To say that King’s Cross Station in London is a busy interchange is an understatement. Every year, around 47 million people use the iconic space and by 2025, it’s predicted that 57 million in total will frequent the station and its surrounds.

    It’s now Europe’s largest travel infrastructure, bringing over 450,000 people a day into the King’s Cross/St Pancras area.

    The sheer scale of traffic within the area has meant that the architecture of King’s Cross Station needed to adapt, and quickly. Unsurprisingly, a growing population was a major factor behind its recent large-scale renovation.

    Expansion

    The redevelopment of King’s Cross followed intensive studies and consultation with the local community, government and stakeholders. A master plan was formed, and renovation of the site began in earnest in 2008.

    The expansion of King’s Cross has meant the design and construction of a new cathedral-like concourse, as well as 20 new streets, 50 new buildings, the refurbishment of 20 historic buildings, the cultivation of 10 hectares of open space and planning permission for up to 2,000 homes.

    On what were once the old railway lands, the 27-hectare site has now grown to accommodate new shops, hotels, homes, galleries, music venues, and even its own university. Global giants such as Google, Louis Vuitton, Havas and Universal Music now retain offices in the new space.

    In its eight million square feet, perhaps the most bold yet challenging aspect of the redevelopment was its new western concourse. Spanning the space between the station and the Great Northern Hotel, the majestic concourse is almost four times the size of the previous structure.

    Construction challenges

    The position of the London Underground underneath the concourse meant that adopting a conventional, multi-column approach (where large pillars feed through the space to support the roof) was not feasible. To avoid placing large pillars throughout the underground station, and therefore severely disrupting the space, a semi-circular solution was adopted, spreading the load and weight of the new roof along the outside rim of the structure.

    This kind of design meant that the concourse roof was not self-supporting until its very last panel was fixed in place – and it was only then, with trepidation, that the scaffolding could be removed and the roof could prove itself worthy of its innovative and elegant design.

    Though challenging in its construction, the striking, modern design of the new concourse roof juxtaposed with the 19th century style of the Victorian station, as well as the restoration of historic buildings surrounding it, clearly show a harmonious marriage between old and new, past and future.

    A living piece of city

    The King’s Cross redevelopment also includes the construction and use of a new footbridge through the station, providing a direct and accessible link through to the various platforms, working to nurture a better travel experience. The surrounding area has also benefitted from the cultivation of a one-hectare nature reserve, giving commuters the chance to enjoy an oasis of green space amongst the hustle and bustle.

    The extensive redevelopment has centred on creating a living piece of city. With plans for markets, festivals, exhibitions and performances all inhabiting the space, it’s evident that the King’s Cross project will continue to evolve and expand, creating new opportunities for the central London community and beyond.

    Read more about our role in the project, and how the benefits of London’s largest redevelopment project are reaching our members.

    AustralianSuper now major stakeholder in King’s Cross Redevelopment

    AustralianSuper now major stakeholder in King’s Cross Redevelopment

    With a further $900 million investment announced, AustralianSuper members now own a majority stake in the revolutionary redevelopment.

    Read more
    AustralianSuper
    AustralianSuper now major stakeholder in King’s Cross Redevelopment

    AustralianSuper now major stakeholder in King’s Cross Redevelopment

    AustralianSuper now own a majority stake in the King’s Cross redevelopment in London, following a further $900 million investment in the 27-hectare site.

    This acquisition lifts AustralianSuper’s ownership of the project to a 67.5% stake in one of the biggest regeneration projects in Europe – meaning our members have a direct, majority stake in one of the world’s most exciting regeneration ventures.

    With 860,000 square meters of offices, homes, hotels, leisure sites, shops and restaurants, the King’s Cross project is a central London redevelopment comprising 50 new and refurbished buildings, 10.5 hectares of public realm, 10 new parks and squares, 20 new streets, three new bridges across the Regent’s Canal and up to 2,000 new homes.

    The project’s new spaces house global giants such as Google, Louis Vuitton, Havas and Universal Music, as well as the University of the Arts London and the Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children.

    “This investment underlines our commitment to acquiring core assets in major international cities with trusted and experienced local partners that will deliver long-term returns for our members in retirement,” says AustralianSuper Head of Property, Jack McGougan.

    “The deal to acquire an additional 42.5% stake also demonstrates the global opportunities that are available to AustralianSuper through its growing size and scale.”

    The increased investment follows an initial purchase of a 25% stake in the mixed-use development, and adds to AustralianSuper’s portfolio of assets with long-term growth potential.

    AustralianSuper has over two million members and manages over $92 billion of our members’ assets with the sole focus of providing the best possible retirement outcome for our members. In 2015 we expanded into global territory, spending more than $2 billion of members’ assets on exciting property investments in the UK and US markets.

    The increased stake, along with our investments in an increasing number of international developments, means we are able to give our members more and more opportunity to make a real difference to their futures.

    Women big losers in Australia’s superannuation system

    Women big losers in Australia’s superannuation system

    It’s not enough to acknowledge or debate why inequality in the workplace still exists.

    Read more
    AustralianSuper
    Women big losers in Australia’s superannuation system

    Women big losers in Australia’s superannuation system

    It’s not enough to acknowledge or debate why inequality in the workplace still exists. The industry needs to empower our members to take the reins and manage their financial futures.

    DESPITE its shortcomings in our eyes, Australia’s super system is held up globally as a success, and is often copied and emulated.

    Millions of people in Australia face a future they can be more confident of — and so they should. It’s what the system was built for.

    It’s also not as complicated as we all make out.

    In reality how much you save for retirement relies heavily on three things: how much you earn, how long you stay in the paid workforce and what percentage of your wage you save.

    And here is where the problem lies. In the first two of those categories, women lose.

    We know the average salary of a woman in Australia is less than the average salary of a man.

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show average salaries still differ markedly, with men making $83,050 and women $68,220 a year.

    We also know that women in our society take up the vast majority of unpaid work — primarily as caregivers to family, and therefore take more time out of the paid workforce than their male counterparts.

    It’s therefore no real surprise that there is a gender gap. What is a surprise is that we aren’t acting to address any of the structural inequities in our system.

    Instead we are acting in ways that will compound the gap, and as a consequence leave millions of Australians less confident of their future, and less comfortable in retirement. That isn’t a women’s problem, it’s a problem for all of us.

    The latest official data around the gap between male and female retirement incomes is quite frankly disappointing. In the key category of 55 to 65 year olds the gender gap in superannuation has gotten worse rather than better.

    A recent report from the Australian Institute of Superannuation and Women in Super shows the median balance for women in the 55 to 65 age group is $80,000 compared to $150,000 for men in the same age bracket — a staggering 47 per cent gap.

    This is up from 39 per cent in 2011-12 when women’s balances were $64,900 and men had a median amount of $107,000.

    So what can we do? The truth is we already have many of the answers. It has to start and stop with addressing those simple three factors.

    We have to make sure people on lower wages can participate fully in the retirement savings system.

    Then we need to make sure that when people take time out of the workforce they still have opportunities to contribute to super. And, finally, women must be encouraged and have opportunities to save enthusiastically and save early.

    To help those on low wages the Low Income Super Contribution (LISC) is in place to top up savings. It is a necessary tool that makes the system fairer. That’s because those on low wages already pay less tax outside super.

    If you earn less than $37,000 a year you pay more tax on your superannuation than you do on your take-home earnings.

    Clearly that wasn’t ever how the system was set up, and the LISC was introduced to address the problem. The number of people in Australia who earn less than $37,000 per year is 3.6 million.

    The majority of those 3.6 million people are women.

    It is estimated by Women in Super that LISC will potentially boost the superannuation savings of one in two working women.

    Superannuation is not as complicated as many make out. It is also a great boost because every person who falls into this category participates, it’s universal.

    But the government is due to repeal the LISC, in 2017.

    This would be a major step backward for the lowest paid in our community, and a major step backwards for women in Australia.

    Having a career, being a mum, a wife, a sister and daughter all come with a fairly big price in terms of time and a hefty price tag to society and government if not done well. So why is it that we allow these activities to be a disadvantage in our current system?

    A society underpinned by a strong nurturing culture is likely to lead to a stronger and more prosperous future for our nation, something we all derive benefit from. In the past we have placed a dollar value of zero on these activities and we are only partly beginning to address this through paid maternal and paternal leave systems, and carers’ leave.

    However, most of those systems have no superannuation component. It is vital that we appreciate that no matter what role you perform in our society we understand that contribution is valuable, and at the same time ensure that all of our citizens have the right to save for a comfortable retirement.

    Finally, we need to have a much stronger voice in encouraging our young people to save early and save hard.

    This single step alone will make all the difference in the world. The effect of compound interest rates means that saving $20 in your 20s has a similar effect on your retirement savings as saving $50 in your 50s.

    Georgina Williams is the AustralianSuper Group Executive Engagement, Advocacy and Brand

  3. How to compare your fund

    How to compare your fund

    There are more than 250 super funds in Australia. What should you look for when choosing yours?

    Read more
    AustralianSuper
    How to compare your fund

    How to compare your fund

    Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a super fund. There are plenty of fund options and products that have varying benefits and are tailored to any number of lifestyles and priorities.

    That being said, there are a few key areas that can really make a difference when it comes to making the right call: your fees and charges, your fund’s performance and its ability to invest.

    Fees and charges

    The more you spend on fees and charges, the less sits in your super fund making you money. Fees vary from fund to fund but can be charged for establishing an account, contributing to that account, adviser services, insurance premiums, withdrawing, administration by the fund, switching investments and managing the investments.

    Now, not all of these fees are necessary, so find a fund that can limit your exposure to these kinds of charges. According to Moneysmart.gov.au, a one per cent difference in fees could mean up to a 20 per cent difference in 30 years.

    You can generally find out about a fund’s fees by looking at its product disclosure statements, or have a chat to a financial adviser.

    Performance over time

    How to compare your fund

    While past performance isn’t a guarantee of future results, it can give you an idea of the people managing that fund and their eye for what a good investment looks like. SuperRatings release median returns on investments each month that show how the industry’s tracking as a whole, allowing you to weigh your fund up against its competition.

    Find a fund that’s consistently performed above the benchmark.

    Ability to work for you

    More money can open doors when it comes to super investments. At its core, your super fund having more money to invest on your behalf means they can invest in bigger projects that deliver good returns. The investments a fund will make on your behalf range from property to technology, so having a number of fingers in a number of pies makes sense. But it also requires the money to do that.

    Instead of solely relying on a super fund’s own marketing, take advantage of websites like Chant West that allow you to search and compare super funds based on fund assets, type of fund and independent ratings, among others.

    How to make the shift

    To move super funds, first you’ll need to get in touch with the super fund you want to move to and open an account. Once you provide them with proof of identity and your tax file number, many funds will take care of the rest for you. Once you’ve provided all the details, it should be moved over within a week.

    Use the tools at your disposal

    There are free and independent research and consultancy firms that can guide you to the super fund that best fits you. Chant West’s Super AppleCheck is a good place to start when it comes to comparing your fund with other options.

    Want to make the switch to AustralianSuper or consolidate your existing accounts? Head here to combine your super funds.

    What matters to all of us

    What matters to all of us

    Even though we’re all very different, the same thing matters to all of us. Making the most of the future.

    Watch video
    AustralianSuper
AustralianSuper