Frequently asked questions

Like to know more about what we invest in and why? Here's some popular questions we get asked.
  • What we invest in

    Why does AustralianSuper disclose its holdings?

    AustralianSuper understands that your savings matter to you so we wanted to make it easy to see what you’re invested in.

    It is anticipated that all super funds will be required to disclose their portfolio holdings in 2019. We believe it’s important to be transparent with members, so we decided to publish this information earlier.

    How often is this information updated?

    The information will be updated as at 30 June and 31 December each year. The updates will be provided within 90 days of these dates.

    Why don’t you provide a more recent list of investments?

    When determining what information to provide we took into consideration members’ information needs, what can be provided in a timely manner and how to ensure that returns weren’t negatively impacted by revealing market sensitive information. This timing allows us to provide comprehensive investment information while minimising the chance of a negative impact on returns.

    We think that the legislation will require super funds to disclose holdings as at 30 June and 31 December. The process of publishing portfolio holdings partially relies on the provision of data from 3rd parties which we can only obtain periodically.

    Why do some investments show as zero per cent?

    An investment or exposure listed as 0.00% has a value that is less than 0.01% of the investment option.

    Why do some investments show as zero dollars?

    A zero dollar amount is typically due to the finalisation of a transaction where the investment has been sold but the final step of removing them from the list hasn’t occurred by the end of the period.

    Why is there ‘cash’ listed within non-cash asset classes?

    Some investment portfolios have an allocation to cash to cover long derivative positions or changes in investment strategy.

    Cash can also be used to fund any switching in or out investment options, especially the single sector options. In share portfolios cash can be held where funds are being invested in or sold out of share markets over time to ensure we don’t put through large transactions in a short timeframe that could impact the market.

    In listed asset portfolios, derivatives such as futures are used to ensure any cash allocation is covered so the portfolio gets the same returns it would from being fully invested.

    Why are there no specific values against property and infrastructure?

    We’ve included a value range rather than a specific value for property and infrastructure. These are not market listed assets and the values are market sensitive information, so detailing them may mean we don’t get as good a return as possible when we make investment decisions about them.

    Why is there less information on private equity investments?

    These investments are privately owned, they’re not market listed and the information and values are market sensitive. Revealing them may cause members’ returns to be negatively impacted.

    Some of AustralianSuper’s private equity managers have not provided us with their permission to disclose details of the investments they make on our behalf and are not legally required to do so. AustralianSuper is continuing to work to increase the amount of information available.

    Why are there negative values against some investments?

    Negative values may appear next to derivative exposures which are used for hedging and other purposes. You can find out more about how we use derivatives in our annual report.

    Why are there some investments with no values?

    In some instances the valuations are not received in time to be included in this information. We are working on including more of them in future updates.

    Some investments are in managed funds, which pool together investor’s money and buy a range of assets. Due to the complexity of these arrangements and, sometimes, confidentiality agreements in place, we are unable to provide this information publically. We are working with managers to increase the information we provide to members in future updates.

    How can I see which investments I’m invested in personally?

    The information is arranged by investment option so choose the option/s you are invested in and browse the information. Currently there is no option to personalise the information to individual member accounts.

    Why are there derivatives in share and fixed interest allocations? What are derivatives/futures?

    Derivatives are used as an alternative way to gain exposure to certain assets or for hedging purposes among other reasons. Find out more in our annual report.

    Why aren’t you showing the names of the investment managers next to their holdings?

    The main focus of providing this information is so members can see what the Fund invests in on their behalf rather than who is managing it. Additionally, in some cases, the same assets may be held by multiple managers and/or directly by AustralianSuper making disclosure in some cases confusing. This way members can see their total exposure to each investment.

    You can view a list of fund managers we use at the Fund level in our annual report.

  • Investment strategy

    What proportion of the investments are hedged?

    For individual asset classes, we fully hedge fixed interest, property, private equity and infrastructure, while international shares is unhedged.

    To help protect PreMixed options that include international assets from adverse currency movements, we set a target currency exposure for these options as part of setting our strategic asset allocations every year.

    You can read more about how we manage currency and our foreign currency targets for the 2017/18 financial year at australiansuper.com/HowWeInvest

    How do you manage volatility in international markets?

    AustralianSuper aims to reduce the impact of volatility of any one asset class or strategy by diversifying across and within asset classes.

    AustralianSuper invests in direct property and infrastructure, like toll roads, ports and airports, which perform differently to assets like shares and may offer attractive returns during times of share market volatility.

    The Fund’s dynamic asset allocation approach also provides flexibility to increase our exposure to defensive assets when necessary.

    The investment team manages how they allocate money to the different types of investments very carefully and have the flexibility to make adjustments to account for volatility.

    Why does Indexed Diversified only list the fund information?

    The Indexed Diversified investment option gains its exposure to each asset class through index funds managed by Vanguard. Vanguard was chosen because of their expertise and value for these types of investments. We are working to increase the information that is included in this option but in the meantime, you can find out more about Vanguard on their website.

    Why do you have so many small investments?

    Diversification is necessary in investment portfolios to adequately control risk. AustralianSuper offers several PreMixed investment options, including the Balanced option, which are diversified across a range of asset classes and sub-sectors within asset classes.

  • Environmental, social and governance (ESG)

    What is the fund's policy in relation to ESG?

    AustralianSuper’s purpose is to achieve superior long-term investment returns for our members. As a long-term investor, AustralianSuper recognises that environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues may affect the value of investments. ESG considerations are integrated into our investment process to maximise long-term returns to members.

    Find out more about ESG and our Active Owner Program.

    Does the fund currently have any broad exclusions across its portfolios due to ESG considerations?

    AustralianSuper does not implement screens across its broad portfolios.

    We do, however, apply screens to the Australian and international share portfolios in the Socially Aware option covering a number of issues that our members have identified as issues of concern. Find out more.

    Does AustralianSuper believe in divestment?
    • AustralianSuper has an active owner program which ensures ESG opportunities and risks – including climate change and carbon asset risk – are fully considered and regularly reviewed as part of discussion with company executive teams and Boards. Find out more.
    • Divestment is a last resort. We believe active management will provide better long-term returns for our members and the broader economy and environment.
    • We don’t have screens on specific industries in our investment options apart from in our Socially Aware investment option. Find out more.
    Why isn’t AustralianSuper getting rid of carbon and fossil fuels from its portfolio?
    • AustralianSuper’s fiduciary duty is to provide the best possible retirement outcome for members.
    • Climate change can have a broad ranging impact on economies, financial markets and our members’ investments over the long term. We actively engage with companies on the risks relating to future fossil fuel consumption and physical changes in climate. Rather than excluding particular investments on the basis of these factors, we weigh the risks and returns for each investment and determine the appropriate exposure. Carbon asset risk is one of the priority topics in our Active Owner Program.
    • AustralianSuper performs a carbon exposure assessment of its portfolio every two years. The latest assessment completed in 2015 by respected independent carbon consultancy firm Trucost found that our Australian and international shares portfolios had lower carbon intensity than their benchmarks.
    • We also engage with companies with material exposure to fossil fuel assets to ensure they understand carbon risk, have appropriate risk management strategies in place and are appropriately valuing those assets with regard to potential future carbon constraints. We also engage with our fund managers to ensure they’re integrating ESG considerations.
    • This engagement may be done as a large shareholder in our own right, or collaboratively through organisations such as the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI).
    How does the fund seek to engage and influence companies that it invests in, in relation to ESG matters?

    AustralianSuper predominately seeks to engage and influence companies through our Active Owner program.

    Direct engagement is important as it enables us to influence the make-up of company boards and encourage positive behaviour on issues that impact our members. Our objective is to effectively communicate our long-term investment interests to companies so that we can improve returns for our members.

    Our engagement process encompasses three key areas:

    • Ongoing relationship building: To ensure that companies hear the importance of ESG issues to AustralianSuper on an ongoing basis;
    • Themes based engagement: To focus on specific ESG themes that AustralianSuper’s ESG Program has identified as a priority;
    • Ad hoc specific issues engagement: To seek resolution of specific ESG concerns or to engage on a particular voting matter.

    Another key activity is voting, which is a key right of a shareholder and, as a large investor, presents a significant opportunity to influence improve governance and other aspects of ESG performance. AustralianSuper votes on all resolutions of ASX200 companies, additional companies held directly by AustralianSuper in our internal portfolio, companies that we’re a large shareholder in and major global companies. AustralianSuper’s objective is to vote on items in a manner that will:

    • Create and/or enhance company value and;
    • Ensure the value is fairly distributed.
    How do you ensure you don’t invest in companies with bad human rights practices such as child labour?

    Human rights and supply chain issues can impact the long-term value of a company, so we integrate them into our Active Owner Program.

    We take a proactive approach to understanding the investments in our portfolio. Every quarter we receive a report on companies that have breached the UN Global Compact for a variety of reasons. If the companies have ‘red flags’ against them and they are in our portfolios we engage with our fund managers on their reasons for investing in the companies.

  • Socially Aware investment option

    What is the fund's policy in relation to ethical investment for members?

    We consider, integrate and value ESG issues in our investment process. We believe this will result in improved investment performance for our members while influencing improved ESG behaviours and outcomes for our investments.

    Many members have different values, so it’s important we consider these preferences in our investment choices. Every two years we survey members to ensure we keep up to date with what’s important to them.

    For members who want the choice to invest based on their values, we offer the Socially Aware and Member Direct options.

    What specific options does the fund offer members if they wish to direct their investments into investments that are fossil fuel free?

    For members who want the choice to invest based on their values, we offer the Socially Aware and Member Direct options.

    Our Socially Aware option aims to provide medium to long-term growth while taking into account members’ concerns around issues such as fossil fuel reserves, human rights and the labour supply chain. Find out more.

    With the Member Direct option members can tailor their selection of individual companies in the S&P/ASX 300, ETFs and term deposits to suit their investment needs. Member Direct.

    How does AustralianSuper identify suitable investments for its Socially Aware option?

    We use the MSCI ESG Controversies index to inform us about the companies that we won’t invest in, in relation to human rights, labour, environment or governance controversies. Companies can come on and off this list. You can find out more about this index on the MSCI website.

    In your Socially Aware option do you invest in companies that produce tobacco?

    No.

    In your Socially Aware option do you invest in companies that produce land mines or cluster bombs?

    No.

    Due to the COP21 Paris Agreement, how will you review climate risk and regulatory risk with respect to carbon emissions and international obligations to reduce carbon emissions?

    Climate change is a core issue in our Active Owner Program. We acknowledge that the outcomes of COP21 may lead to significant policy changes and make climate change an even more significant investment issue. Our Active Ownership Program will continue to monitor this closely.

    Find out more about how we’re managing these risks in our climate change factsheet.

What we invest in

See a full list of your investments.

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