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Super funds start to turn negative as investments sour


Superannuation fund returns went negative in May and Chant West is now tipping a negative year after last year’s booming 18 per cent growth.

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Chant West said the median growth fund, where most people invest, was down 1.2 per cent in April, reversing the gains of March. The 10-month growth was now just 1.2 per cent.

International share markets had been a major factor. They were down 7 per cent in hedged terms.

The fall in the Australian dollar provided a cushion and Australian shares fell only 0.8 per cent.

“With share markets down so far in May we estimate that with only about six weeks remaining the financial year return is near breakeven at -0.5 per cent,” the company said.

If the year does end in a negative result it would be the fifth time in 30 years, but Chant West said the median growth fund was still 10 per cent up on the pre-Covid level, Chant West senior investment research manager Mano Mohankumar said.

“Looking back over the past decade we have seen an unusually strong run of returns averaging 8.4 per cent per annum,” he said.

“That’s been great but members shouldn’t expect performance to continue at that sort of level.

“It’s not sustainable and it’s not what these funds were designed to achieve.”

Funds were designed to deliver a return of 3.5 per cent above inflation which translated to a 6 per cent absolute return.

In the lifestyle funds which allocate investment on the age group of the member, there was a blanket negative return for April.

The best performing lifestyle sector was the funds investing for people born in the 1990s. Those funds had a return since 2014 of 7.5 per cent.

That was because younger people have a greater appetite for risk.

The 1960s cohort generally underperformed the median growth option because they had a lower risk allocation.



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