Aware Super wins best super fund for 2021

Dec 16, 2020
The new super fund -made up of First State Super, VicSuper and WA Super - took the top spot. Source: Getty.

The top super funds of the year have been announced, with the recently formed fund Aware Super taking the top spot. The winners of the 25 categories were announced in Money magazine’s Best of the Best 2021 awards, which celebrated a number of big players in the field.

This year’s winner of Best Super Fund, Aware Super, might be better known by its previous name First State Super. The fund was rebranded in July after merging with VicSuper, and it didn’t stop there, merging with WA Super at the beginning of December, which solidified Aware Super as the second-largest industry fund in the country.

Other top winners of the awards included AustralianSuper for Best MySuper product (the default account that most employers choose for their employees and the cornerstone account for most retirement savings) and Bendigo SmartStart Super Pension for Best-value Retirement Product.

Prime Super was best for property, while Hostplus won big for fixed-interest products. And when it came to shares: IOOF Super offered the best Australian shares, while WA Super performed best in international shares.

Meanwhile, industry super fund HESTA won the most awards, bringing home four gongs in total, including Best Balanced Pension Product, Best Innovation – ESG Investment Leadership, Best ESG Super Product and Best Balanced Super Product.

Cbus Super dominated the pension product sector, claiming three of the five awards on offer including Best Pension Fund, Best Moderate Pension Product and Best Growth Pension Product.

Money magazine has been published under the Rainmaker Group since 2019, a group that has been reviewing super funds for more than 20 years. And this year, rather than the two companies offering separate awards – Money magazine’s Best of the Best super awards and Rainmaker’s SelectingSuper Awards – they combined them to form a renewed focus on the market.

The fused awards resulted in categories increasing from 17 to 25 to include recognition for asset class top performers. But with more than 500 super funds and products offering tens of thousands of investment choices, narrowing down the top 25 best-performing products, best-value products and best value insurance was no easy feat.

According to Money magazine, the top performing funds were chosen by reviewing MySuper products, and asset classes that include growth, balanced, moderate (capital stable), equities, property, bonds, cash and ESG investment options.

When it came to MySuper, Rainmaker didn’t just look at isolated figures of accounts at one point in time, but instead the single-strategy super products and investment choices were evaluated on their performance over the past five and 10 years as well as over the 12 months to the end of June 2020.

This evaluation of the past 12 months took into consideration the fact that well-performing funds might have dropped off over the difficult period during 2019-2020, meaning the awards focused more on consistency in both the good and bad times.

Lifecycle products – which invest your savings differently depending on age – were evaluated in a similar way but also looked at the best options for members in each decade of their life, with the top product being the highest ranked across all age groups.

Meanwhile, the best-value products were chosen by assessing the investment, admin and member fees that would align with funds worth both $10,000 and $50,000, while retirement or pension products looked at fees for accounts worth $100,000 and $500,000.

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