First dip since October: what April’s market decline means for your super

Illustration of depressed businessman with head in hands, standing beside a big, red, downward pointing arrow.

April has thrown a curveball at super funds, marking their first negative monthly return since October 2023. SuperRatings, a leading superannuation research organisation, reports that the median balanced option fell by -1.6% in April. 

SuperRatings attributes the dip to falling equity and fixed interest markets, both in Australia and globally, driven by higher-than-expected inflation and the resulting concerns about interest rates.

The following tables show the performance of various superannuation fund options, highlighting their monthly, financial year to date (FYTD) and long-term returns*.

Accumulation returns to 30 April 2024

1 yr
3 yrs
5 yrs
7 yrs
10 yrs
SR50 Balanced (60-76) Index
SR50 Capital Stable (20-40) Index
SR50 Growth (77-90) Index

Pension returns to 30 April 2024

1 yr
3 yrs
5 yrs
7 yrs
10 yrs
SRP50 Balanced (60-76) Index
SRP50 Capital Stable (20-40) Index
SRP50 Growth (77-90) Index

* Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance

Should I worry?

Despite this blip, it's important to maintain perspective. Even with the April decline, the median balanced option is still up by over 7% for the financial year. 

In other words, don’t get alarmed just yet, says SuperRatings executive director Kirby Rappel. 

“Setting and sticking to a long term strategy remains the best approach to achieving long term success and we encourage any member thinking of changing their strategy to seek advice from their fund or a trusted financial adviser,” Rappel said.

Looking to switch funds? Here’s a look at some superannuation providers for you to consider.

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Last updated 18 July 2024 Important disclosures
Australian Retirement Trust
  • One of Australia’s largest super funds with 2.3 million members and over $280 billion in retirement savings
  • Profits for members
  • Focused on strong long term investment returns and lower fees
  • Exclusive member deals and discounts

The Australian Retirement Trust (ART) is one of Australia’s newest super funds formed out of the merger of Sunsuper and QSuper. ART is open to all Australians, works for members and not shareholders, which means its focus is on lower fees and better value products and services. It has a range of investment options depending on your risk appetite and lifestage and offers members rewards including exclusive discounts at retailers. 

Membership also includes personal financial advice about your super accounts with them and eligible members are also provided with automatic Death and Total & Permanent Disability Assist cover. Tailored cover is also available (T&Cs apply).

Host Plus Super
  • Industry super fund, profits go to members, not shareholders
  • Over 1.77 million members and $103.7 billion in funds under management
  • Strong investment performance over past 20 years together with low fees

While Hostplus’ origins are from the hospitality and tourism industry, it is now available to all Australians. As an industry fund, profits go back to members and it invests in projects that aim to derive strong investment returns for its members. It also aims to keep its fees and costs as low as possible. It has an option for members who want more control to make direct investments or you can also opt to let Hostpluses experts take care of your investments for you. 

Hostplus also offers a range of insurance options (some automatic for eligible members), as well as financial planning and super advice to help you set and meet your retirement goals. Some advice may incur fees based on the level of advice.

  • Record of strong long-term performance across a range of investment options with 615,000 members and $124 billion in funds under management.
  • Fees among the lowest in the industry
  • Responsible investor - Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors are considered across its major investment holdings
  • No commissions to advisers or profits to shareholders, member first fund

UniSuper is open to all Australians, though it built its reputation as the industry fund for the higher education sector. It has a record of strong long term investment performance (though this isn’t an indicator of future performance). According to recent Member Outcome Assessments, UniSuper promotes the best financial interests for its members and has some of the lowest administration fees in the industry. UniSuper champions responsible investment and its ESG approach includes direct engagement with companies on ESG issues as well as offering its members environmental and sustainable options to invest responsibly. 

General advice about super and pensions is included as part of your membership but there are also paid advice services which vary in cost depending on the level of advice required.

Virgin Money Super
  • Earn Velocity points on contributions and any funds rolled over (T&Cs apply)
  • Strong performing investment fund
  • Fees among the lowest in the industry for the Lifestage Tracker Option
  • Simple super advice at no additional cost + automatic Death and Total Permanent Disablement cover

Virgin Money Super is a retail superannuation fund available to Australians and backed by Mercer Super, who has been providing superannuation related services to Australians for over 40 years. It offers a range of investment options from a fully managed Lifestage Tracker that does the investment work for you, to a choose your own investment mix option that gives you the opportunity to invest your money where you’re most comfortable. One Velocity Frequent Flyer Point will be awarded for every $5 of Net Super contribution during the Points Earn Period and the maximum number of Velocity Points in any financial year is 250K.

Virgin Money Super also provides automatic Death and Total Permanent Disablement cover and includes additional insurance options. Members can also get simple super advice over the phone from a qualified financial adviser at no additional cost.

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