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Why women-led CareSuper is punching above its weight

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CareSuper is one of the quiet achievers of Australia's superannuation market place.

Its $11 billion under management makes it the nation's 31st largest fund.

While that is not as much as some of the other industry funds and retail behemoths that it usually matches up with, it more than settles the score with its consistently strong returns and expanding set of features.

caresuper punching above its weight gym female women leadership

From its beginnings as a fund focused on clerical and administrative workers it has since expanded its reach and now covers professionals, executives, managers, administrators and service workers across Australia.

As an industry fund it is jointly sponsored by the largest employer associations and unions in its sector: the Victorian and NSW Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Services Union, the Distributive & Allied Employees' Association and Unions NSW .

CareSuper's board of trustee directors comprises six employer-sponsored and six member representatives as well as one independent director.

But what makes CareSuper really different is that its chair, chief executive and most of its senior executives are women.

What it offers

CareSuper offers 12 investment options across its workplace, personal and retirement divisions, seven of which are diversified choices and five of which are asset-class-specific choices.

Its MySuper option, which is 52% invested into equities, 12% in property, 15% in fixed interest, 5% in cash and 16% in alternatives, is its balanced choice, which makes up almost three-quarters of the overall fund.

CareSuper doesn't have a lifecycle option but it does offer a comprehensive member-direct option that includes not just the ability to trade ASX shares but also access to 17 exchange traded funds, six listed investment companies and 16 cash term deposits available through four banks.

Reflecting CareSuper's long-time commitment to portfolio-wide investment sustainability principles, it also offers a dedicated "socially responsible" balanced investment choice.

On top of the usual array of group insurance choices that allow members to buy up to $400,000 in standard cover for premiums starting at $4.20 a week, CareSuper also provides discount deals on health, car and home insurance and other financial products.

There are also accounting services that include a tax returns service, and for self-managed super fund members who want to rejoin a mainstream fund it offers a SMSF wind-up service.

Independent commentary

A member who invested $10,000 in their CareSuper account 10 years ago would now have $18,300, which is 10% or $1700 more than someone who invested in an average fund ($16,600).

CareSuper's investment credentials are demonstrated by it outperforming the SelectingSuper MySuper default option index in eight of the past 10 financial years net of fees and taxes, helping to explain why it is Australia's third-best-performing fund over the past decade.

On the downside, CareSuper does have higher than average fees for an industry fund, notwithstanding that what really counts is not headline fees but after-fee money in your account.

Consistent strong returns and a good choice of investment choices and extra features are why CareSuper is a previous winner of the SelectingSuper fund of the year award.

Key fund data

Size $11 billion, 250,000 members   5-year performance 8.7%pa as at April 2016 after fees
SelectingSuper rating AAA   Investment choices 12 plus a member-direct option
Fees 1.2% in the MySuper option   Insurance choices 30 depending on risk type

caresuper

Source: Rainmaker Selecting Super

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Alex Dunnin is director of research at Rainmaker Information, publisher of Money magazine, Financial Standard and Selecting Super.
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