Industry super funds have increased the value of their asset holdings to $761 billion, extending their lead over retail super funds by $163 billion, a new Australian record.
Retail super funds control assets worth $598 billion, only $10 billion more than they controlled two years ago.
According to new data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), super funds have managed to claw back most of the value of their asset holdings lost in the pandemic and bushfires.
The data comes as members of the Federal Government continue to campaign for significant changes to Australia’s superannuation system.
The policy argument has become spirited in recent months, with a number of Coalition MPs and Labor MPs, lobbyists, economists, think-tankers, former prime ministers and a former Reserve Bank governor joining the fray.
There is heated disagreement about whether to increase the superannuation guarantee rate from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent at a time when wages are hardly growing.
Last week, the Federal Government released the Retirement Income Review by former IMF director and senior Treasury bureaucrat Michael Callaghan.
The review said going ahead with the legislated plan to increase the rate of compulsory super to 12 per cent over time would cost the budget more in tax breaks than it saves in age pension costs until 2055, would reduce wages, and would be poorly timed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has said he will make a decision about whether or not to go ahead with the planned increase in the May 2021 budget.
Industry funds are not-for-profit, so any profits are returned to their members.
As a result they typically offer lower fees, according to a 2018 Productivity Commission report into superannuation.
Their boards are a mix of employers, union representatives, and independent members. There are 35 such funds.