Our Half Year Investment Update shows how we continue to provide great investment outcomes, giving you more value in your super.
Market rebound rewards patient investors
The financial year was a solid one for markets, rewarding patient, long-term investors.
The financial year was a tale of two halves, with the 10%-plus returns achieved for US and Australian share markets masking periods of volatility. Lows in late 2018 gave way to a big rebound in the first half of 2019, driven by lower interest rate expectations. Fixed interest markets also performed strongly as bond yields fell (bond prices rose).
The rise in both share and fixed interest markets, combined with our strategy of positioning the investment portfolio for future growth, saw our VicSuper FutureSaver Growth (MySuper) investment option deliver a very solid return of 8.20% over the 2018/19 financial year.
- This result put VicSuper in the top 10 performing funds over 7 and 10 years in the SuperRatings SR50 MySuper Index1 - a great outcome.
- Returns for all VicSuper FutureSaver investment options were ahead of their investment objectives over all periods to 30 June 2019. See table below for selected FutureSaver investment option returns over various timeframes.
At a glance
- The VicSuper FutureSaver Growth (MySuper) investment option was one of the top performing1 funds over the financial year to 30 June 2019.
- Strong share and bond market returns rewarded patient, long-term investors over the financial year.
"This result put VicSuper in the top 10 performing funds over 7 and 10 years
in the SuperRatings SR50 MySuper Index1 - a great outcome."
|Periods to 30 June 2019||Capital Secure FutureSaver||Capital Stable FutureSaver||Balanced FutureSaver||MySuper Growth FutureSaver||Equity Growth FutureSaver|
|1 month %||0.79||1.32||1.99||2.27||3.41|
|3 months %||1.84||2.55||3.36||3.63||4.81|
|1 year %||5.43||6.80||7.81||8.20||8.86|
|3 years % p.a.||4.75||6.70||8.41||9.46||12.01|
|5 years % p.a.||4.85||6.43||7.59||8.23||9.47|
|10 years % p.a.||5.47||7.03||8.35||9.17||10.57|
Note that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
A smoother investment journey for your super
While the strong financial year returns are pleasing, what is most important is delivering smooth, consistent investment performance for our members, rather than chasing short-term performance by trying to time markets. Our approach is to take a long-term investment view and diversify the investment portfolio appropriately.
Investing across asset classes (in our diversified investment options, e.g. the Growth (MySuper) investment option) allows us to capture returns from a broad range of asset classes while managing risk effectively. Taking a long-term view means we focus on investment fundamentals—which drive long-term returns—rather than getting caught up in short-term trends and ‘market noise.’
You can see in the chart below that the VicSuper FutureSaver Growth (MySuper) investment option has delivered a smoother pattern of returns (green line) over the last financial year compared to the volatile, v-shaped performance of Australian and US share markets.
Note that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
Another key part of how we invest is that our approach is ‘true to label’. That is, our investment approach is based on ensuring that the investment strategy for each option is aligned with its specific return and risk objectives. For our FutureSaver Growth (MySuper) investment option, for example, we invest in a higher proportion of riskier growth assets (like shares) than defensive asset classes (like bonds or cash), which aligns with investors’ medium to high risk tolerance and longer investment timeframe.
Our aligned, risk-aware and opportunistic approach helped us deliver solid, consistent returns for our members in our diversified options even in the face of volatile and unpredictable markets, which we’ve certainly seen over the last 12 months.
Enhancing our portfolio and investing responsibly for better member outcomes
Last financial year we enhanced the investment portfolio by: 1) further diversifying our Real Assets investments; 2) deepening our responsible investment; and 3) adjusting the portfolio’s long term, strategic asset allocation.
Investing for resilience: Real Assets
VicSuper has invested $1.3 billion over the last two years in real assets. Real Assets include high quality infrastructure, property, and timber & agriculture assets - for example:
- Infrastructure assets: Melbourne Airport, Southern Cross Station, Ross River Solar Farm (solar power, Townsville), Finerge Wind Farm (wind power, Portugal), and Wheelabrator (energy-from-waste, US/UK).
- Property assets: Quay Quarter Tower (premium office, Sydney), 567 Collins Street (premium office, Melbourne) and The Cube (premium office, Berlin, Germany).
- Agriculture assets: Kerang (Victoria) is one of Australia's most vital food-producing regions. Our investment in sustainable farming focuses on improved crop yield and water use solutions for agriculture.
VicSuper Real Assets – at a glance
- Finerge Wind Farm uses over 500 wind turbines to produce renewable energy, saving more than 900 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
- Ross River Solar Farm uses over 400,000 solar panels to power around 50,000 homes.
- Melbourne Airport supports more than 37 million passengers per year.
"VicSuper has invested $1.3 billion over the last two years in real assets."
Responsible investment, deeper engagement
Our approach to responsible investment is based on four pillars: 1) environment, social and governance (ESG) integration 2) active ownership 3) investing in sustainable outcomes, and 4) member choice.
Investing in sustainable outcomes
We have set ourselves a goal of investing $3 billion in sustainable outcomes by mid-2020. We are already substantially on our way to achieving this goal, with current investments and allocations including:
- Invest in Victoria - $100m commitment to private markets focused on creating jobs and regional development in Victoria, tackling big issues and improving affordability & access to essentials.
- Low carbon investment - $1 billion in an international equities strategy that aims to deliver a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions against its benchmark.
- Renewable energy - $110m in renewable energy infrastructure including Wheelabrator waste-to-energy (US/UK), Finerge wind power (Portugal), and Ross River Solar Farm (Townsville).
- Greener property - $685m in ‘greener’ property through four leading property managers, including a significant number of Melbourne and Sydney’s premium office buildings.
Top rating for responsible investing in 2019
VicSuper holds an A+ rating for Responsible Investment Strategy and Governance from the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). PRI is an international independent body and the world’s leading advocate for responsible investment.
Our top PRI rating recognises VicSuper’s continued progress in integrating responsible investment principles within the mainstream investment portfolio. In the 2019 PRI Annual Benchmark, we also further improved our ratings for Listed Equity and Fixed Income and were ahead of our peer group median across all categories.
Read our PRI Transparency Report.
Recent changes in investment options
Each year we review our investment options to ensure that our underlying investment strategies and investment objectives remain appropriate and well-placed to deliver solid, sustainable outcomes for members.
Further to the review undertaken in the first half of 2019, a number of changes were applied to our investment options from 1 July 2019. These changes (listed below) were based on expectations of a more cautious outlook going forward:
- updates to the investment return objectives for a number of investment options
- changes to the risk objectives for the Capital Secure and Capital Stable investment options
- minor adjustments to the strategic asset allocation of several investment options
- minor adjustments to the allocations to growth and defensive assets for some investment options.
You can read more about the changes in investment options in your half-yearly Benefit Statement (in the ‘Other important information you should know’ section).
Investment outlook: caution required
Expectations of further US interest rate cuts have been one of the main drivers of the rebound in markets over the first half of 2019. Our belief, however, is that the current market highs do not seem to reflect the underlying economic conditions given a) our medium-term view that economies will slow further, and b) that markets face a number of longer-term, structural risks.
We believe markets have underestimated the potential impact of these structural risks2, which cover five key areas: 1) economic, e.g. the risks of fiscal crisis or asset bubbles; 2) environmental, e.g. risks of extreme weather events or failure of climate change; 3) geopolitical, e.g. risks of failure of national, regional or global governance or terrorist attacks; 4) societal, e.g. risks of water crisis or large scale voluntary migration; and 5) technological, e.g. risks of data fraud/theft or cyber-attacks).
These long-term risks vary in terms of their likelihood and impact on our investment portfolio, and in fact, some of them represent investment opportunities. We manage environmental risk, for example, by making investments in sustainable outcomes that can both reduce the environmental risk to our portfolio, as well as capture new investment opportunities.
While the strong returns in most of our investment options are good news for our members, we believe it will be more difficult to achieve high investment returns over the next few years. With that said, we believe our portfolio is well placed to weather periods of market volatility as well as to capture any upside, and thus is well placed to deliver solid and consistent returns over the long term.
2Source: World Economic Forum; Global Risks Perception Survey 2018-19.
Talk to VicSuper about how your retirement savings are invested
It can help to talk to someone about your super - even if you just want to find out more about your investment options and how we’re investing your money. And remember at VicSuper, you get superannuation and retirement advice at no additional cost in most cases.
For more information about our advice services, go to Help and advice at vicsuper.com.au
For more information about how we deliver different sources of investment returns for our members, go to vicsuper.com.au/investments
This document has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should therefore consider the appropriateness of the advice in light of your individual circumstances before acting on the advice. You should also obtain and consider a copy of the relevant Product Disclosure Statement available at www.vicsuper.com.au before making any decisions. VicSuper Pty Ltd ABN 69 087 619 412, AFSL 237333, Trustee of Victorian Superannuation Fund ABN 85 977 964 496
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