19
Apr
2015

Lower fees, higher returns: how to make superannuation work for Australians

by Jim Minifie


The Government must act to prevent excessive fees taking at least $40,000 from the superannuation accounts of millions of Australians at retirement, according to a new Grattan Institute report.

Super savings, a companion to Grattan’s 2014 report, Super sting,finds that too many superannuation account holders pay too much in both administration and investment management fees, and that the system could be run for significantly less than the $21 billion Australians pay each year in fees and expenses.

The report recommends that government reduce fees by running a tender to select superannuation funds to manage the accounts of more than nine million Australians who choose a default fund through their employer.

Running a tender to select these funds would save $1 billion a year in fees, or $40,000 for each account holder.

The Murray Financial System Inquiry came to a similar view in its 2014 report, recommending a “competitive mechanism”, or tender, to select default funds, unless a review shows that the sector has become much more efficient by 2020. Grattan’s report, Super Savings, shows that government should accelerate this timetable: Australians have already waited too long for cheaper super.

Government also needs to follow through on recent moves to reduce administration costs and make default accounts more transparent. But as Grattan’s report Super savings shows, government needs to go further to close excess accounts, merge funds and encourage people to move out of overpriced superannuation products. There are too many accounts, too many funds, and too many of them incur high costs.

But it also urges the government to go further and close excess accounts, merge funds and encourage people to move out of overpriced superannuation products.

“There are too many accounts, too many funds, and too many of them incur high costs,” says Grattan’s Productivity Growth Program Director, Jim Minifie.

“Australia has many high-performing but lean funds. If other funds charged what they charge, account holders could get the same performance, but pay $4 billion a year less in administration and $2 billion less in investment management,” he says.

“These are numbers big enough to make the difference between sausages and steak in retirement.”

“A stronger and fairer superannuation system will take the pressure off government pension payments and give older Australians confidence in the future.”

Read the report

For further enquiries: Jim Minifie, Productivity Growth Program Director
T. +61 (0)3 8344 3637 E. media@grattan.edu.au