Superannuation assets in aggregate were $2,259 billion ($2.3 trillion rounded) at the end of the March 2017 quarter, up from the previous quarter which were $2,199 billion, and are now at an all time historical record level. Over the 12 months to March 2017, there was a 11.2 per cent increase in total superannuation assets.
Total assets in MySuper products were $555 billion at the end of the March 2017 quarter, up by 22.6 per cent from a year earlier.
Accrued default amounts continue to fall and were $10 billion, well down from $43 billion a year earlier. Retail funds are responsible for the bulk of the remaining accrued default amounts. Accrued default amounts are expected to reduce to zero by end June 2017.
Contributions to funds with more than four members over the March 2017 quarter were $26.9 billion, up from $24.0 billion in the March 2016 quarter. Total contributions for the year ending March 2017 were $106.7 billion, up slightly from the previous year ($104.0 billion).
In APRA regulated funds most employer contributions are now superannuation guarantee (SG) or for defined benefit funds, with salary sacrifice only a small proportion of total employer contributions (less than 10 per cent). The reduction in concessional contribution caps taking effect from 1 July 2017 will be likely to reduce this proportion further.
Personal contributions in the March quarter 2017 were $5,305 million, up from $3,848 million the same quarter a year earlier. It is likely that some individuals are making use of the higher contribution caps applying prior to 1 July 2017.
The APRA-regulated sector average for investment returns was 10.5 per cent over the year to the quarter. This was across all investment options. The five year average annualised ROR to March 2017 was a healthy 8.6 per cent.
As at the end of the March 2017 quarter, 50 per cent of the $1.49 trillion investments in APRA regulated funds was invested in equities; with 24 per cent in Australian listed equities, 23 per cent in international listed equities and 4 per cent in unlisted equities. Fixed income and cash investments accounted for 33 per cent of investments; 21 per cent in fixed income and 12 per cent in cash. Property and infrastructure accounted for 13 per cent of investments and 4 per cent were invested in other assets, including hedge funds and commodities.
Outward benefit transfers exceeded inward benefit transfers by $563 million in the March 2017 quarter. The outflow to self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) was $1,528 million in the quarter, down from $1,600 million in the previous quarter. However, this is not large compared to the size of the SMSF sector and is not really driving growth of that sector. The asset share of SMSF continues to be static or showing a slight decline.
There were $18.8 billion in total benefit payments in the March 2017 quarter. Total benefit payments for the year ending March 2017 were $70.4 billion.
The number of APRA funds was unchanged in the March quarter. Fund merger activity amongst major funds has stalled for the time being in terms of completed mergers amongst larger funds. However, a number of mergers are in prospect.
APRA annual statistics indicate that over the ten years from June 2006 to June 2016, the number of member accounts decreased by 1.6 per cent. The number of member accounts increased from 28.4 million at June 2006 to 32.0 million at June 2010, before decreasing to 28.0 million at 30 June 2016. MySuper accounts increased form 14.5 million to 14.9 million over the year to June 2016.