ART Super Review; Is it a good Super fund?

A review of ART Super; an Australian superannuation fund formed through a merger between QSuper and Sunsuper. Learn about its investment options, fees, insurance policies, and performance to find out if ART Super is right for you.

The Good

  • ART Super is Australian owned
  • Variety of investment options
  • A merger between two large and established super funds
  • Choice of insurance policies
  • Offer a MySuper product
  • Strong performance on their leading investment options
  • An accessible website with detailed information
  • Offer a mobile app
  • Hassle-free customer service
  • ART has won several awards
  • Rating of 3.9 out of 5 on ProductReview.com.au18 with lots of positive reviews.

The Bad

  • Comparatively higher fees on many popular investment options
  • Limited investment performance history for some investment options as a recently established fund
  • Potential confusion due to the large range of investment options
  • Potentially tiresome to obtain quotes for insurance products

Verdict: ART Super has strong performance, is Australian owned and has plenty of positive reviews, but fees are a little higher. Make sure you compare options and choose what’s right for YOU.

Introduction

When it comes to securing your financial future, choosing the right superannuation fund is paramount. In Australia, there is what feels like an infinite choice of superannuation funds, but the merger between QSuper and Sunsuper has given rise to a new player: ART Super, which is certainly one option worth exploring. Born from the merger of QSuper and Sunsuper, this superannuation fund offers a comprehensive array of investment options, robust insurance policies, and a track record of performance.

In this article, I explore the intricacies of ART Super, arming you with the knowledge to make a more informed decision about which fund you entrust with your future. Let’s uncover the key aspects that could make ART a compelling choice for discerning investors.

ART super logo

What kind of super fund is ART Super?

To determine what kind of super fund ART is, we must first establish and understand the various types of super funds available in Australia. The most basic and common type of Aussie super fund is an accumulation fund. As the name implies, money deposited into this kind of super account is invested and accumulates over time. The key to an accumulated fund is choosing the right one. There are various fees and costs involved with super accounts, and many different investment options are available. If you’re young with a higher risk tolerance, for example, you may consider a high-growth investment option with low fees and less insurance coverage.

Another type of accumulation fund is a MySuper fund. Introduced in 2013 as part of the government’s Stronger Super reforms, these funds offer a simple, low-maintenance solution for those who’d rather set and forget. They are overseen by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)1 which stipulates that they follow certain requirements, like providing a basic level of non-compulsory insurance cover to members. Accumulation funds, including MySuper funds, typically fall into the categories of retail or industry super funds, to be discussed later in this article.

Defined benefit funds are another style of super fund available in Australia. Typically falling into the corporate or public sector categories of super funds, these funds provide a set benefit, regardless of the performance of any underlying investments. This set benefit is calculated based on factors such as employer and employee contributions, average annual salary and years of service. Most defined benefit funds still in existence today are closed to new members.

Australian Retirement Trust (ART)2 is an accumulation fund. They offer many different diversified3 and single-asset class4 investment options and provide a choice between an actively managed or passively managed fund, depending on which investment option you choose. An actively managed investment is one where investments are bought and sold at regular intervals by an investment manager to try and match or beat the performance of a specific benchmark. A passively managed investment is a more hands-off, buy-and-hold approach. To learn more about different types of superannuation accounts and investments, visit the Australian government’s MoneySmart website5.

Is ART Super an Australian company?

ART Super is an Australian company based in Brisbane. They were founded in late February 2022 after a merger between QSuper6 and Sunsuper. Since then, the fund has also acquired the Australia Post Super Scheme (APSS) and has been chosen by Woolworths Group7 to manage its corporate superannuation scheme.

Is ART Super an industry super fund?

The types of super funds discussed earlier can be further categorised into retail super funds, industry super funds, public sector and corporate funds. Retail funds are most often owned by financial institutions and offer a diverse range of investment options. However, they seek to keep some profit for themselves and may be recommended by financial advisors who are paid an affiliate commission, and for these reasons, they tend to have higher fees.

“Australian Retirement Trust is the super fund formed through the merger of Sunsuper and QSuper. We’re one of Australia’s largest super funds and proud to take care of over $240 billion in retirement savings for 2.2 million members. As a fund that works for members, not shareholders, we work in members’ best interests, and are committed to returning profits to them as lower fees and better services.” 

australianretirementtrust.com.au/about2

Public sector funds are for government employees, with many long-term members having defined benefits, but all newer members are being placed into accumulation funds. They often have fewer investment options, but lower fees, and profits are returned to the fund to benefit the members.

Corporate super funds are similar to public sector funds but are set up by large companies with membership exclusive to employees and potentially their immediate families. Depending on the company’s age and size, these funds can be defined benefit, accumulation funds or both. Whether the fund is run by a board of trustees or “outsourced” to a retail or industry fund provider will determine how profits are distributed.

Finally, industry super funds are the garden variety of super funds in Australia. They are all accumulation funds, except some, which may still have some defined benefit members. They typically offer lower fees, with most offering a MySuper option. Industry super funds give all profit back to their members. ART Super falls into the industry super fund category despite not being listed as one of eleven funds on IndustrySuper.com8.

Who owns Australian Retirement Trust?

Because it is a profit-for-members, industry super fund, ART is essentially owned by its members. The business still has executives and a board of directors to whom these executives answer, but these individuals do not receive a share of the fund’s annual profits (unless that is, they are members themselves!).

What are the super options through ART Super?

ART Super offers a variety of investment options, both single-asset class and diversified, to suit members’ individual needs and preferences. Some of these options are actively managed, with others being passively managed. The Life Cycle Investment Strategy is ART’s MySuper option, which automates your investment strategy based on age, timeframe and risk tolerance. As you age, the investments move away from higher growth options towards a mix of cash and “safer” investments.

ART Super savings
A Super Savings account gives you access to an accumulation account, as well as a retirement income account for later

The remainder of the diversified investment options are actively managed and include balanced, high-growth, socially-conscious, alternative, retirement and conservative options. The sole passively managed, diversified option is a balanced index option that seeks to match the performance of both Australian and International stock indices, like the S&P 5009 and ASX 20010.

Additionally, ART offers actively and passively managed, single-asset class investment options for shares, property and bonds. They also have an actively managed cash option.

“Whether you’re happy to leave your investment choice to us, or a hands-on investor, we offer a wide range of investment options to suit different risk profiles and retirement goals.”

australianretirementtrust.com.au/investments/options2

What are ART Super’s fees?

ART’s fees depend on the type of investment option you have chosen. They have two types of fees- investment fees and costs, and transaction costs. Investment fees and costs are charged to cover any expenses associated with managing your investments. Transaction costs cover expenses incurred when buying and selling your investments, such as brokerage on shares and stamp duty on property.

The investment fees and costs started as low as 0.07% for cash options and reached up to 2.01% for the diversified alternatives option for FY22. In the same financial year, transaction costs were nil for cash, Australian and International index funds, starting at 0.01% for hedged international shares and reaching 0.38% for diversified alternatives. The average fees for the more common investment options are well towards the bottom of these ranges.

It is important to note that the fees listed are indicative only, and based on past costs incurred by the trustee in managing these investments. Therefore, these fees are subject to change depending on each investment’s performance and the cost incurred in transacting and managing them.

How does ART Super perform?

Once again, the performance of ART Super’s products will depend on which investment has been selected. For simplicity, we will use Canstar11 to focus on two of ART’s most common investment options and compare them with the performance over five years of similar options from other providers.

ART’s Life Cycle (Balanced Pool) investment option ranks second by a razor-thin margin at 7.1% per annum, compared to 7.2% p.a. for Hostplus’ Personal Balanced option. Another 0.1% behind in third place is the Balanced option offered by Australian Super. ART is in the middle for fees ($557 a year on average). ART shares its second-place ranking with UniSuper, which provides the same five-year return for $336 in annual fees.

ART’s Super Savings Diversified (Growth) option seemingly outranks all of its high-growth competitor accounts featured on Canstar, with a five-year return of 8.52% p.a. compared with the next best option from Aware Super, which has achieved a return of 7.6% p.a. over the same period.

Just remember though, past performance is not always a reliable indicator of future performance.

You can also read my reviews on ANZ Smart Choice Super review and Vision Super.

ART Super insurance policies

ART Super offers a range of insurance options to meet the varied requirements of its many members. As a start, most members are automatically provided with Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) and Death or Terminal Illness insurance, the former of which is paid out in recurring instalments (in most cases), and the latter a lump sum.

ART also offers income protection insurance and offers “Tailored cover” for all insurance products so that policies can be further refined to benefit the individual account holder. As there is such a wide range of factors that go into determining insurance premiums and payout figures, those wondering how much they would need to pay for these products would need to use the ART insurance needs calculator12 and input their details for more information. Some factors insurance companies consider when quoting the types of policies mentioned above are age, employment status and past medical history as well as current health.

ART super's insurance options
Insurance Options through ART Super

Advantages of ART Super

There are numerous benefits to choosing ART as your superannuation fund, including the following:

  • ART Super is Australian owned
  • Variety of investment options
  • A merger between two large and established super funds
  • Choice of insurance policies
  • Offer a MySuper product
  • Strong performance on their leading investment options
  • An accessible website with detailed information
  • Offer a mobile app
  • Hassle-free customer service
  • ART has won several awards
  • Rating of 3.9 out of 5 on ProductReview.com.au18 with lots of positive reviews.
ART super financial advice options
Financial Advice options available to you as an ART Super member

Disadvantages of ART Super

While ART is a great choice of super fund for many Australians, below are some reasons you may choose to consider other funds for your super:

  • Comparatively higher fees on many popular investment options
  • Limited investment performance history for some investment options as a recently established fund
  • Potential confusion due to the large range of investment options
  • Potentially tiresome to obtain quotes for insurance products

FAQs about ART Super:

ART’s FAQs page13 answers questions about joining the fund, like how to join, who is eligible and if there are any costs associated with joining. They also outline how to retrieve account details and update contact details

ART also has a few subheadings on this page dedicated to more nitty-gritty questions about making voluntary contributions, how to access your super and what else to do if you are ready to retire.

Additionally, this section of the website is where you will find important details about the fund to provide to your employer including their USI and ABN.

What did ART Super used to be called?

ART super hasn’t changed names but was formed as a merger between two other super funds, known as Sunsuper and QSuper.

How many members does ART Super have?

ART, despite its young age, currently has over 2.2 million members, according to its website. This is thanks in part to the existing members of the two merged super funds mentioned above.

Has ART won any awards?

ART may be the new kid on the block, but they’re certainly popular amongst awards agencies. They have won the Canstar award for outstanding value two years in a row since their inception and a Money Magazine14 “Retirement Innovator” award this year.

They have won at least five awards with agency Chant West15 since inception in 2022 and carry across from Sunsuper a 20-year “Platinum Performance” badge with SuperRatings16. For a full list of awards ART has won, visit their website’s awards page17.

ART Super award winner
Just some of the awards won by ART Super

Conclusion- Is ART Super a good super fund?

To conclude, ART Super has positioned itself not merely as the new kid on the block, but as a potential new sheriff in town when it comes to superannuation. With countless investment choices and a track record of strong performance owing to the two companies that came together to form it, ART Super offers a potentially attractive opportunity for those attempting to secure their financial future, regardless of age.

Additionally, their tailored insurance policies cater to individual needs, providing added peace of mind. While there may be some question marks around fees on certain investment options and limited performance history for new products, ART Super’s recognition through awards and a growing membership base further solidify its appeal. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not ART is a good super fund is best left to the individual reading this. What do you think? 

You can listen to my podcast with Vince Scully, all about Superannuation, HERE.

Reference List:

  1. https://www.apra.gov.au/
  2. https://www.australianretirementtrust.com.au/
  3. What Is Diversification? Definition as Investing Strategy, Troy Segal, Investopedia. Published (updated): Aug 13, 2022. Accessed online at https://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/diversification.asp on June 6, 2023.
  4. What Are Asset Classes? More Than Just Stocks and Bonds, Akhilesh Ganti, Investopedia. Published (updated): Feb 27, 2023. Accessed online at https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/assetclasses.asp#:~:text=Key%20Takeaways-,An%20asset%20class%20is%20a%20grouping%20of%20investments%20that%20exhibit,common%20examples%20of%20asset%20classes on June 6, 2023.
  5. Types of super funds, MoneySmart.gov.au. Accessed online at https://moneysmart.gov.au/how-super-works/types-of-super-funds on June 6, 2023.
  6. https://qsuper.qld.gov.au/
  7. https://www.woolworthsgroup.com.au/
  8. http://industrysuper.com/
  9. https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/en/indices/equity/sp-500/#overview
  10. https://www2.asx.com.au/
  11. Compare Super Funds, Sale and Tovey, Canstar. Updated June 2023. Accessed online at https://www.canstar.com.au/superannuation?tV=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%3D on June 6, 2023.
  12. https://lifeapp.groupinsurance.aia.com.au/australianretirementtrust/insuranceneeds.html#fund=australianretirementtrust
  13. Frequently asked questions, ART Super. Accessed online at https://www.australianretirementtrust.com.au/about/faqs on June 6, 2023.
  14. https://www.moneymag.com.au/
  15. https://www.chantwest.com.au/
  16. Ratings & Awards, Super Ratings. Accessed online at https://www.superratings.com.au/products/ on June 6, 2023.
  17. https://www.australianretirementtrust.com.au/about/why-choose-us/award-winning
  18. Australian Retirement Trust, Product Review. Accessed online at https://www.productreview.com.au/listings/australian-retirement-trust on June 6, 2023.
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