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Types of super funds

Get to know your fund better

Page reading time: 5 minutes

When you start a job, you can usually either choose a super fund or let your employer choose for you.

Understanding the basics can help you work out what kind of account you get and whether it's right for you.

If you want to choose your own — or change your account — there are lots of options.

Most funds offer a simple, low-fee option, called a MySuper product. This is the default product your employer will use for you.

Types of super funds

There are two types of super funds: defined benefit funds and accumulation funds. Most super funds are accumulation funds.

Accumulation funds

In an accumulation fund, your money grows or 'accumulates' over time.

The value of your super depends on the money that you and your employers put in (known as super contributions), and on the investment return generated by the fund after fees and costs.

Defined benefit funds

In a defined benefit fund, your retirement benefit is determined by a formula instead of being based on investment return.

Most defined benefit funds are corporate or public sector funds. Many are now closed to new members.

Typically, your benefit is calculated using:

If you're thinking about leaving a defined benefit fund, get professional advice. Some funds are very generous, so make sure you'll be better off. If you leave, you can't rejoin.

MySuper 

MySuper is a type of product you can have with a super fund.

It's the default product that your employer will pay your super into, unless you choose a different option.

MySuper products typically offer:

Even if you've already chosen a super investment option within your existing fund, you can choose to move to a MySuper option.

Compare MySuper products

You can find out about and compare MySuper products by using:

You can also compare MySuper products by going to their website from our list.

What to do if your MySuper product is underperforming

If you have a MySuper product, your super fund must let you know if it has performed badly under an annual performance test done by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

To help you make a decision about whether to switch funds and which product to switch to, you can use the ATO's YourSuper comparison tool.

Super fund categories

Most super funds fall into one of the following categories: retail, industry, public sector or corporate.

Retail super funds

Retail funds are usually run by banks or investment companies. Anyone can join.

Main features:

Industry super funds

Anyone can join the bigger industry funds. Smaller funds may only be open to people working in a certain industry, for example, health.

Main features:

Public sector super funds

Public sector funds are for government employees.

Main features:

Corporate super funds

A corporate fund is arranged by an employer for their employees.

Some large companies operate a corporate fund under a board of trustees who they appoint. Other corporate funds are operated by a retail or industry fund, but are only available to that company's employees.

Main features:

Self-managed super funds

To weigh up the pros and cons of managing your own super fund, see self-managed super funds.