Best Performing Super Funds Australia

Finding the best performing superannuation funds in Australia.

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, updated on September 13th, 2023       

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Everyone wants to know that their super fund is the best on the market. But what does it mean to be the “best” super fund? Learn how to compare Australian superannuation funds and find the best options with this guide.

What are the best performing super funds in Australia?

This is a complicated question to answer, because the performance of super funds varies a great deal over the course of any given year. When you’re comparing super funds, you always need to look at the performance of each fund over a number of years – five to ten is a pretty standard.

Below is a table of the ten best performing Australian super funds (specifically the investment options) in the five years leading up to March 2021.

# Superannuation Fund (Balanced Investment option) (Balanced Investment option)


Aware Super
Sunsuper for Life
Vision SS
VicSuper FutureSaver
Prime Super
Equip MyFuture

Now, while these figures provide a straightforward leader board of super fund performance, things are a little more complicated than that in reality.

For example, let’s look at data for one specific fund – Sunsuper’s “Super-Savings account” – as an example. If you examine the returns over the course of five years (this time we’ll use the data up to April 2021), you find out that the fund has had an impressive return rate of 9.16%, which gives it a solid spot on the top-ten ranking board. However, when you look into the returns year by year, you find out what that number really means…

Year Return
2021 (Up to April)

So, at the same time that we’re comparing fund returns separated by a few hundredths of a percent, we’re also seeing year-to-year fluctuations in returns of nearly 14% – almost five hundred times that number. This tells us three very important things about the top performing super funds…

  • Investments are an unpredictable business – Super fund investment managers do a superb job of providing good returns on your super over time, but there’s no getting past the fact that they’re in a field that’s hard to predict. There’ll always good and bad years, and investments that don’t go as planned.
  • Returns on super funds vary – The growth of a super fund has its ups and downs. Super is about the gains and losses averaging out over a long time to produce a slow increase in your super balance.
  • Past performance doesn’t show future performance – The performance of a fund up till now gives you a sense of which super funds are investing wisely and seeing good returns, but it can’t guarantee how things are going to go from now on.

For this reason, while good returns (over time) might be a good reason to consider a given fund, it shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all. You should consider other factors as well.

What other factors affect how Australia's best super funds perform?

Superannuation funds have many factors that make them more or less desirable, and each one has strengths and weaknesses in different areas, but you need to figure out which factors are most important to you.

In addition to the performance of the fund over a given time, there are three factors that people generally consider when weighing up if a fund is a good choice for them or not. These are:

  • Low fees – Does the fund have affordable fees that won’t take a big cut out of my super?
  • Investment options – Do I have any choice in how my super is invested, and do those choices match with my preferences?
  • Insurance and other services – Does the fund come with additional services, such as life insurance or financial advice, and am I happy with what they offer?

Each of these can significantly affect how suitable an option is for a given person. For many, it’s as simple as “how much money will I have in my super fund when I turn 65?”, in which case fees and performance are probably going to be the main factors for you. However, others might decide that their money not being invested in fossil fuels is an absolute must, or that they definitely need affordable life insurance of a particular kind. For those people, fees and performance might be only a secondary consideration.

Lowest fees

Fees are important, as they can affect the return you see on your super a great deal. A difference of 1% in your annual admin fees can mean a difference of more than $100,000 your retirement savings.

One thing to remember is that superannuation fees aren’t just a flat rate: they can change depending on the amount of super you have. Admin fees for super fund can be regular flat fee (say, $500 per year, or $5 a week), a percentage of your super balance (maybe 0.5% of your current super) or often a combination of both. A fund with a $500 annual fee is a worse choice than a fund with a 0.5% annual fee until your super reaches $100,000, at which point it becomes a good choice that gets better each year.

In addition, there are other fees you can incur on your super, such as:

  • Investment management fees – In addition to an admin fee for managing the account, some funds may charge a specific fee for managing your investments – which is also often a percentage of your super balance.
  • Investment switching fees – You may be charged for changing the type of investment strategy you want – such as going from a balanced strategy to a more high-risk growth strategy.
  • Advice fees – Some funds have financial advice services, which are often free – although some might have a one-off fee for activating the service.

If you’re someone who likes to regularly change how your super fund is invested, a fund with lower investment switching fees becomes more valuable. To give you some perspective, the following is a list of the ten Australian super funds with the lowest fees as of mid 2020. It’s important to note, these figures are specifically for someone with a superannuation balance of $50,000 – so the “lowest fees” table for your situation might look different.

# Superannuation Fund Annual Fees (based on $50k balance)


Bendigo SmartStart Super
ANZ Smart Choice
Kogan Super
Virgin Money Super
UniSuper Accumulation Super
Grow Wrap Super
MyNorth Super

Source: https://www.superratings.com.au/top-10-super-funds/

It’s also worth knowing that some of these funds aren’t available to the general public. For example, UniSuper is an industry superfund that’s only available to university employees and their family members.

Investment options

There’s a number of different things that people could be looking for when it comes to investment options for their super. They might be looking for the fund that gives them the most options for how my super is invested. They might want the fund which has investment options that are best for the world around them, or the question might simply be “which funds have the investment options that suit me best?”

For the first question, it’s generally the case that retail funds and large, publicly available industry super funds will have more versatility in their investment options, as that helps them attract customers. If that’s what you’re going for, it’s best to stay away from a MySuper account, which generally have good fees and returns but only one investment option (generally a balanced strategy with a mix of investment types).

Some funds will have the option of directly controlling your mix of investments, which can be a good option if you know what you’re doing and want to take the wheel. Ultimately, the way to have absolute control over the investment of your super would be to create a self-managed super fund – although that’s a huge investment of time, energy and finances.

If you’re asking about the best investment options for the world around you, you’re probably on the lookout for a fund with ethical investments. These are becoming far more popular now, and there are funds that offer an ethical option, and others that make a policy that all their super is invested ethically.

Be aware, though, that the term “ethical investment” means different things to different people, and there’s no industry standard for the term. Most super funds regard renewable energy vs fossil fuels and abuse of labour laws as ethical issues for example, but some ethical investment options will stay clear of investment in stem cell research, for example.

As for the fund whose options suit you the best, the investment options on your super are generally a trade-off of risk vs reward – the more risk you’re willing to accept, the higher returns you’ll normally get for your super. The catch is that if anything goes wrong, you’ll take a bigger hit – such as in 2020, when COVID-19 pandemic meant many funds had negative returns. Alternatively, you can opt for a more conservative investment strategy with less risk, although the returns will also be less.


Many super funds have insurance products included as part of the superannuation package – most commonly income protection, permanent disability, and life insurance. It’s important to note that premiums will change depending on the customer and their situation. For example, below is a table of the ten best super funds for insurance premiums on death & total permanent disability insurance for 30-year-old males (as of June 2020) – for blue- and white-collar workers.

# Blue Collar Workers White Collar Workers

Catholic Super

NGS Super - Industry Plan
UniSuper Accumulation Super
Catholic Super
Equip - MyFuture
AvSuper - Accumulation
Intrust Super - Executive Super
UniSuper Accumulation Super
Virgin Money Super
Equip - MyFuture
Sunsuper for Life Business
Intrust Super - Executive Super
legalsuper Personal
Virgin Money Super
NGS Super - Industry Plan
QSuper - Accumulation
Rest Super
YourChoice Super
QSuper - Accumulation
EmPlus - Personal Super

As you can see, just the type of job you work in changes the list a fair amount, and the number three option for white collar workers (AvSuper) doesn’t even make the top ten list for blue collar.

Insurance policies also vary widely in areas such as the amount you’re covered for, the exclusions (are there causes of death that void my life insurance?), medical examinations required, and various other conditions. Between all these factors, it’s very hard to talk about the “best” insurance. For insurance that’s part of your super fund, you’re probably better off starting with “what do I need from an insurance policy, and who has that on offer?”, and working from there.

How do I compare Australia’s top performing super funds?

There’s a number of factors to weigh up when you’re sitting down to compare your super options, each of which can change how good a Super fund is for your specific situation.

  • Performance and fees – these are going to be the most significant factors affecting your final retirement savings. Try to work out what the fees would be for your situation (they can change depending on your super balance) and remember to compare performance over many years. You should also compare these over the same time period where possible – otherwise it’s not a reliable comparison.
  • Other services – If they’re similar, have a look at what else your fund offers that you’re looking for. If you’re not expecting to need financial advice, but are looking for life insurance, that’s obviously worth finding out about.
  • Investment options – If you want more control over how your money is invested, it’s worth looking at what choices each fund has about investments. And if one fund has an ethical option and the other doesn’t, perhaps that’s what makes the decision for you.

Types of investment strategy for Australia’s best performing super funds

Frequently asked questions about the best performing super funds

How do I know if my fund is still a top performing fund?

If you want to make sure your super returns are good as they can be, you’ll need to keep an eye on your super fund. It’s worth checking in periodically to see how your super is tracking – you can generally do this on your super fund’s website. It’s also worth reviewing your options every year or so and seeing how your fund currently compares to other super funds on the market. See how it compares to some of the award-winning funds. If you think there might be a better option for you, it might be time to make a change.

Is changing super funds difficult?

No – if you’re keen to move your super to one of Australia’s best performing super funds, it's actually quite easy. The Australian government’s myGov website now has facilities for transferring your super between funds. This makes it easy to track your super and move it where you want it. To get started:


  1. Go to the myGov website
  2. Create an account (or log in to your existing one)
  3. Link your myGov account to the ATO (you'll need your tax file number)
  4. In the ATO section, select ‘Super' and then ‘Manage'
  5. View your super accounts
  6. Select ‘Transfer super'
What if my new super fund isn’t showing up on the myGov website?

It’s quite possible that newly opened super funds might not show up on myGov for a few months, as they can take a while to get processed. If your new fund isn’t showing up yet and need to get things moving quickly, you can talk directly to your fund about rolling over another fund into your account. You could also talk to a financial advisor, who should be able to help you through the process fairly swiftly.

Do I need to consider anything before changing super funds?

Yes. Firstly, you need to make sure you notify your employer of the change so they know where to send your super contributions each payday. Secondly, if you have insurance with your super fund, you need to work out what happens with that, as getting new life insurance or permanent disability insurance set up can be a slow process. The Australian government brought in new legislation in July 2019 that prevents fees from being charged for switching funds.

Which type of super fund is the best performing funds in Australia?

There’s no specific type of fund that is consistently the best. It’s true that industry super funds are run on a profit-to-member basis, which can give them a slight edge at times in terms of returns. However, the fact is that both industry and retail funds regularly feature on lists of high performing super funds. As such, it’s always worth doing the homework to compare the different types of funds.

Do any of Australia’s best super funds have defined benefit options?

Some do, but most of the time they won’t be available to you. Most super funds these days are what’s called accumulation funds. The alternative – defined benefit funds – are becoming rare these days, and few people have access to them. If you’re fortunate enough to have a defined benefit fund on offer, it’s always worth considering – even if the numbers don’t look quite as high as other funds. Defined benefit funds take the investment risk right out of the equation, as they simply pay a set return every time; the fund takes care of the risk and you just get the reward.

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