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Industry or Retail fund

It's important to know the difference.

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When choosing the right super fund for you, it’s important to know the difference between an Industry SuperFund and a retail super fund.

Industry SuperFunds

  • Industry SuperFunds were first established in the 1980s to protect Australian workers’ super from the high fee and commission products that were then common in the retail superannuation market.
  • Industry SuperFunds are run only to profit members and don't pay profits or dividends to shareholders.
  • They are governed by trustee boards including both employer and employee organisation representatives.
  • Industry SuperFunds aim to provide above average investment returns to members, while keeping management fees as low as possible.
  • Industry SuperFunds are committed to quality long-term infrastructure and building investments in Australia because they benefit our members through broader economic growth as well as healthy investment returns.

These are just some of the factors that have led to Industry SuperFunds outperforming retail funds over the last five, ten and 20 years*.

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Retail Super Funds

  • Unlike Industry SuperFunds, retail funds (owned by banks, insurance companies and private investors) help generate corporate profits, which are returned as dividends to shareholders, not fund members.
  • Following severe criticism from the Hayne Banking Royal Commission, some banks are selling their wealth management businesses (including their superannuation funds) to investors who will be expected to continue to divert profits to shareholders.
  • The banks, insurance companies and shareholders behind retail superannuation funds have regularly made enormous profits themselves over the last 20 years, whilst the average retail fund has delivered around $95,000 less to their members than the average Industry SuperFund.*

*Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance and should never be the sole factor considered when selecting a fund. Comparisons modelled by SuperRatings, commissioned by ISA and shows average differences in net benefit of the 'main Balanced option' of 11 Industry SuperFunds and retail funds tracked by SuperRatings, with a 5 (69 options), 10 (32 options) and 20 (12 options) year performance history, taking into account historical earnings and fees - excluding contribution, entry, exit, fee caps/tiering and additional advisor fees - of 'main Balanced options'. A 'main Balanced option' being the fund's largest Balanced option where 60% to 76% of the fund's assets are invested in growth investments. This is generally the fund's default option. Where a fund does not have a Balanced option, the option closest to SuperRatings benchmark range of 60% to 76% growth investments is used. Outcomes vary between individual funds. Modelling performed on 5 October 2022 using data as at 30 June 2022. See for more details about modelling calculations and assumptions. Consider a fund's Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and your personal financial situation, needs or objectives, which are not accounted for in this information, before making an investment decision. ISA Pty Ltd ABN 72 158 563 270 Corporate Authorised Representative No. 426006 of Industry Fund Services Ltd ABN 54 007 016 195 AFSL 232514. Assumes initial starting balance of $50,000 and initial salary of $50,000.