Navigating APRA's super data: A guide to informed choices

Performance of stock shares on screen

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has just released its Quarterly Superannuation Product Statistics for the quarter ending September 2023, providing essential data on the performance of thousands of individual superannuation products across hundreds of funds.

The report is packed with information that sheds light on the current state of superannuation funds, offering key insights such as:

  • Comparative analysis. It allows you to compare the performance of individual super products against each other.
  • Fee context. The data helps you weigh your super product’s fees against its performance—crucial for evaluating cost-efficiency.
  • Diverse strategies. The report breaks down the investment strategies for each of the products, illuminating the paths funds take to grow your retirement savings.

With the report covering extensive data across thousands of products and funds, it's important to approach this information thoughtfully. Quick takes could miss the nuanced details crucial for informed decision-making. For example, one detail in the report is how SmartMonday products have claimed 9 out of the top 10 spots for the highest quarterly returns in the MySuper category. It's certainly eye-catching, but it's just one quarter we're talking about.

A quarter's worth of data gives us a glimpse, nothing more. Market swings, economic changes, and even global events can all sway these short-term results. So, while SmartMonday's performance this quarter is notable, it's a bit early to draw broad conclusions from it.

Tips for navigating APRA's superannuation statistics

With this nuance in mind, here are some straightforward tips to help you get the most out of this data:

  • Look beyond just one quarter. Super is a long-term commitment. While it's tempting to react to short-term fluctuations, what’s more important is the overall trend across several quarters or even years.
  • Fees vs. returns. High returns might seem attractive, but they can quickly be eaten up by fees. Always weigh the returns against the fees to see the actual benefit to your savings.
  • Understand the strategy behind the numbers. APRA's reports let you dig into the investment strategies of different super products, which is useful if you're trying to find a one that matches your own investment approach.

Keep in mind, the goal here is to use APRA's insights to deepen your understanding of superannuation and to make informed decisions that support your financial future.

Other data from APRA

APRA publishes a series of reports that are crucial for anyone interested in understanding their superannuation better. Here's an overview of their key publications:

  • Quarterly Superannuation Statistics. This report shows the big picture of the super industry, including overall financial health, where the industry is investing and how well it's doing overall. It gives a broad view without diving into the specifics of individual products.
  • Quarterly Superannuation Product Statistics. This is the report we’ve been discussing above. It is where you find details on individual super products, including what investment choices they offer, their fees and how well they're performing.
  • Quarterly Superannuation Industry Publication. Offers a general overview of the super industry, focusing on the types of products available and general member demographics.
  • Annual Fund-Level Superannuation Statistics. Provides in-depth information on individual super funds each year, covering their operations, financial health and fees.
  • Annual MySuper Statistics. Specifically looks at MySuper products annually, detailing their structure, performance and fees, for a clear view of this important super option.

APRA publishes these reports and more in one convenient place on their website. This info can be useful for making smart choices about your super, so use it wisely to guide your decisions and keep your super working best for you.

Want to delve deeper into the world of superannuation and access valuable resources? Head on over to our superannuation guides hub.