In 1962, in the very first edition of Superfunds, Mr A. G. Armytage, then president of the Association of Superannuation and Provident Funds of Australia wrote:

“It gives me great pleasure to address members of this Association in the first issue of our Journal. I am sure that in future issues the Journal will serve all members by providing useful information, and also maintaining their interest and contact with each other and with the Association.”

In 2019, 57 years and 446 issues later, Superfunds is just that. A way to empower you with the latest information and policy in superannuation, keep you informed of the biggest trends and hopefully enable you to connect to create a strong and united industry.

1960s An Association is born

The 1960s editions of Superfunds were a snapshot of ASFA’s early history. It began as a quarterly journal, Roneo printed and delivered to ASFA’s first members. It captured reports from various sub-committees, correspondence with government at the time, and research that was underway.

Highlight: Issue 3, June 1963

Correspondence between ASFA President and Federal Treasurer, and later Prime Minister, Harold Holt calling for a repeal in the legislation surrounding superannuation and life assurance offices. At the time, funds had to invest 30 per cent of increases in assets in public securities and 20 per cent in commonwealth securities (dubbed the 30/20 rule). It was this particular issue that acted as the catalyst for forming ASFA a year earlier.

1970s What is super anyway?

Superfunds in the 70s saw the rise of op-eds – editorial style articles from various movers and shakers in the industry and it explored ideas and sentiment around superannuation.

It was a tumultuous time in this fledgling industry, as superannuation tried to get a foothold as a policy norm within Australia.

In the wake of the Hancock Enquiry, business leaders and ASFA members were trying to work out what was next for the industry – was the plan to make one large public service fund with all Australians and their employers contributing to one fund? Would there be a flat rate non-contributory scheme?

Highlight: Issue 60, Sept 1977

“Keep it simple and make it popular,” wrote Barry King, from Campbell, Cook & King (now Mercer) in relation to superannuation in the 1977 edition of Superfunds, encapsulating the decade.

1980s The reformation

The 1980s was a time of great reform in the superannuation industry, and a period of greater clarity for members – the Superfunds issues reflected great debates by powerful thought leaders of the time. This decade focused on solidifying an established industry and moving towards more comprehensive, award-based superannuation.

Highlight: Issue 83, June 1983 – Letter to Bob Hawke

During such a powerful decade for superannuation, it was hard to choose a single highlight. An open letter to Bob Hawke, in the first edition after he was sworn in as Prime Minister, marks the beginning of a relationship between ASFA and the government that led on a range of issues from taxation to prudential supervision.

1990s Life in colour

The 1990s saw a series of ups and downs for the industry. The Superannuation Guarantee was introduced in the early 90s, making way for a more regulated system. And with the “recession we had to have”, the magazine’s focus turned from politics to returns. This decade also tracked the rise of industry funds.

It also saw some spectacular ad placements from our members in full 90s flair, as this decade saw the first full colour print edition and the move from quarterly to monthly publications.

Highlight: Super Studies issue 133, February 1991

The introduction of Super Studies, celebrating ASFA’s prestigious learning alumni. It was a celebration of ASFA’s Learning division and the high calibre of talent who were looking to grow professionally.

2000s It’s all about choice

The 2000s were defined by the choice of fund legislation that took effect in 2005. Suddenly, competition was rife between funds and ranking mechanisms became powerful tools.

Highlight: The cost squeeze issue 337, July 2009

Following the GFC, superannuation funds fell quiet as the financial services industry was hit hard. Buffered by compulsory contributions, the industry held on, but a raft of changes hit service providers.

2010s The industry super-sizes

The world today is fast-paced, demanding and, of course, digital. So, Superfunds magazine has adapted to go to where our readers are.

In 2013, we published a version online so that every issue could be accessed by our members at any time. Now, with more and more of our readers looking for articles online, our entire publication is going digital.

Highlight: Issue 365, February 2012 – ASFA’s 50th anniversary

Former associate editor for the Australian Financial Review, Barrie Dunstan, writes a reflection on the superannuation industry from its early days as Life Offices to the multi-trillion dollar industry it is today.