AustralianSuper vs Hostplus: Which super fund is right for you? | finder.com.au (2023)

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AustralianSuper and Hostplus are two of the biggest industry super funds in Australia, with almost 3.5 million members between them. AustralianSuper is dedicated to no specific industry, however it's the biggest super fund in the country. Hostplus is aligned to the hospitality, tourism, sport and recreation sectors. Both super funds are open to all Australians to join.

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AustralianSuper vs Hostplus

Let's dive in and compare the two super funds side by side, so you can see which one might be right for you.

AustralianSuperHostplus
Type of fundIndustry super fundIndustry super fund
Number of members2.3 million members1.2 million members
Funds under management$181 billion$50.3 billion
Default investment optionAustralianSuper Balanced

This is AustralianSuper's default investment option. This is a pre-mixed, diversified fund that invests your super in a range of assets with a strong allocation towards Australian and international shares, direct property and infrastructure among other assets. Investment allocation is the same for all members in the Balanced fund, regardless of age. It's an authorised MySuper product.

Hostplus Balanced

Hostplus Balanced is the default investment option offered by Hostplus, and it's the one that the majority of members are in. Similar to AustralianSuper Balanced, this is a diversified investment portfolio with a strong focus on Australian and international shares, private equity and infrastructure among other assets. Investment allocation is the same for all members in the Balanced fund, regardless of age. It's an authorised MySuper product.

Performance for default optionPast performance of AustralianSuper Balanced:
  • 10 years: 9.34% p.a.
  • 5 years: 7.3% p.a.
  • 3 years: 5.63% p.a.
Past performance of Hostplus Balanced:
  • 10 years: 9.74% p.a.
  • 5 years: 7.76% p.a.
  • 3 years: 6.54% p.a.
Fees for default optionHere's how much you'd pay in fees for one year if you had the following amounts invested in AustralianSuper Balanced:
  • $5,000 balance: $91.50 in fees
  • $50,000 balance: $447 in fees
  • $100,000 balance: $842 in fees
Here's how much you'd pay in fees for one year if you had the following amounts invested in Hostplus Balanced:
  • $5,000 balance: $164.07 in fees
  • $50,000 balance: $648.49in fees
  • $100,000 balance: $1,186.74 in fees
Additional diversified investment optionsIf you don't want to invest in the default option (AustralianSuper Balanced), you can choose to invest your super in one of the following pre-made investment options instead:
  • High Growth
  • Socially Aware
  • Indexed Diversified
  • Conservative Balanced
  • Stable
If you don't want to invest in the default option (Hostplus Balanced), you can choose to invest your super in one of the following pre-made investment options instead:
  • Hostplus LIFE
  • Shares PLUS
  • Indexed Balanced
  • Socially Responsible Investment Balanced
  • Conservative Balanced
  • Capital Stable
Single asset class investment optionsIf you want to design your own investment mix, you can invest your super in one or more of the following individual asset classes:
  • Australian Shares
  • International Shares
  • Property
  • Diversified Fixed Interest
  • Cash
If you want to design your own investment mix, you can invest your super in one or more of the following individual asset classes:
  • Australian Shares
  • International Shares
  • International Shares - Indexed
  • International Shares (Hedged) - Indexed
  • Infrastructure
  • Property
  • Diversified Fixed Interest
  • Cash
Ethical investmentThe AustralianSuper Socially Aware option doesn't invest in Australian or international companies that directly own coal and fossil fuel reserves, produce tobacco or those which have single-gender boards. AustralianSuper lists all its fund holdings on its website.

If you had $50,000 invested in AustraliaSuper Socially Aware you'd pay annual fees of $501.18.

The Hostplus Socially Responsible Investment Balanced option invests in companies that "contribute to a socially and environmentally sustainable world". Hostplus lists all the holdings in this investment option on its website, and also lists the companies that it actively excludes (these are largely controversial weapon manufacturers and tobacco companies).

If you had $50,000 invested in Hostplus Socially Responsible Investment Balanced you'd pay annual fees of $583.00.

Mobile appThe AustralianSuper app has a 3.6 star rating from users in the Google Play store, and a 3 star rating in the Apple store.The Hostplus mobile app has a 3.9 star rating from users in the Google Play store, and a 4.5 star rating in the Apple store.
Read moreAustralianSuperHostplus

How do the default MySuper products compare?

Both funds are popular industry super funds, with AustralianSuper the larger of the two having significantly more members and more funds under management than Hostplus.

The two default MySuper options are AustralianSuper Balanced and Hostplus Balanced. These two products are very similar; both are authorised MySuper products, both are pre-mixed, diversified funds and both have exposure to unlisted assets (like infrastructure).

AustralianSuper Balanced is a higher-risk investment option than Hostplus Balanced. AustralianSuper Balanced has a standard risk measure of "High" and predicts 5 negative annual returns in every 20-year period. Hostplus Balanced has a standard risk measure of "Medium to High" and predicts 3 to 4 negative annual returns in every 20-year period.

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How do their fees and performance figures compare?

Looking at the default options, Hostplus has delivered slightly better returns over the past 3, 5 and 10 year periods. The difference in these figures is only minor and both funds are top-performing funds compared to others in the market.

In terms of fees, AustralianSuper Balanced charges lower fees than Hostplus Balanced. So if you're looking at both these default options, you'd be paying more with Hostplus. This becomes increasingly apparent the larger your balance is: with a balance of $100,000 the fees charged by Hostplus Balanced are almost double that of AustralianSuper Balanced.

However, Hostplus does offer several low-fee indexed investment options (more on this below).

How do the additional investment options compare?

Hostplus offers more investment options to choose between than AustralianSuper. Hostplus offers six additional pre-mixed options, while AustralianSuper offers five. Hostplus also offers a pre-mixed lifecycle product, Hostplus LIFE, which invests your super in line with your age. The idea with this option is that Hostplus will invest less of your super in risky assets (like shares) as you get closer to retirement, to protect your wealth. AustralianSuper doesn't offer any lifecycle investment options.

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Hostplus is also well-known for its Indexed Balanced investment option, thanks to the Barefoot Investor declaring it's his chosen super fund. This is an incredibly low-fee option which charges around $103 p.a. on a $50,000 balance. It's so cheap because it invests your super in a mix of index funds (also known as exchange-traded funds) which simply track an index or market. So if low fees are your top priority, the Indexed Balanced fund offered by HostPlus is one of the lowest-fee options available for your super.

AustralianSuper's Indexed Diversified option also charges low fees at around $230 p.a. on a $50,000 balance, however it's not as low as Hostplus.

If you want to be more hands-on with your super and design your own portfolio, you've got more choice with Hostplus than with AustralianSuper. Hostplus offers eight individual asset class options while AustralianSuper only offers five. The main difference is that Hostplus offers International Shares (Indexed) and International Shares Hedged (Indexed) as single asset classes that you're able to invest in.

If you're unsure how these different options work with your super fund, here's a guide on superannuation investment options and how to choose between them.

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How do the ethical investment options compare?

Both AustralianSuper Socially Aware and Hostplus Socially Responsible Investment Balanced avoid investments in fossil fuels, tobacco and gambling among many other harmful industries. Both fund are very transparent with their investments; both list their total fund holdings on their websites for you to see exactly which companies they invest in. Hostplus also lists the companies that it actively does not invest in.

These two ethical investment options have delivered very similar returns over the past three-year period, with Hostplus Socially Responsible Investment Balanced performing slightly better. However, Hostplus again charges higher fees for its ethical investment option than AustralianSuper does.

If you're interested in investing your super ethically, you can compare these funds with a range of additional ethical super funds in our guide.

Want to keep comparing?

If you're not yet convinced that either AustralianSuper or Hostplus is right for you, or you simply want to see how they compare to others in the market, you can compare super funds with our guide. Additionally if you're looking to be kept up to date on the most recent changes to super, then have a read of our super funds news page.

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