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26th Heron Quality Star Ratings Released

Released: 31 January, 2019

2019 Calendar Year Assessment

Leading independent superannuation and actuarial consultancy, The Heron Partnership, has released its latest half-yearly assessment of superannuation funds for calendar year 2019

Originally launched in 2006, the 2019 calendar year ratings are the 26th public assessment undertaken by Heron. These ratings covered 125 superannuation products, which included 47 commercial products, 45 industry funds, 11 Government designated funds, 22 specialist “corporate” products and 73 pension products.

Based on Heron's numeric rating system, the products in each product classification that achieved the highest score, receive Heron's Top Rated Product award for that classification and are awarded 6 Stars.

The Heron Partnership's Managing Director, Chris Butler, said, "We are very impressed with the continuing improvement in the overall quality of superannuation funds and products in Australia. One of the key challenges most funds have been addressing, is how to respond to the rising tide of technological advances. We have seen a number of examples where technological advances are already resulting in cost savings and efficiencies from the back office administration functions through to front of house. The outcome is continued enhancement in the member experience, which will lead to improved member engagement."

The 89 superannuation products rated as "outstanding quality" and therefore awarded 5 Heron Quality Stars are (in alphabetical order) as follows.

Outstanding Superannuation Products

AMG Super - Corporate Super IOOF Personal Super
AMG Super - Personal Super IOOF Pursuit Focus Personal Superannuation
AMP - Flexible Super IOOF Pursuit Select Personal Superannuation
AMP - Flexible Super - Employer legalsuper
AMP CustomSuper LGIAsuper
AMP MyNorth Local Government Super
AMP SignatureSuper LUCRF
AMP SignatureSuper Select Macquarie Wrap - Super Accumulator
AMP Summit - Personal Super Macquarie Wrap - Super and Pension Consolidator
ANZ Smart Choice Super (Employer Sponsored) Macquarie Wrap - Super and Pension Manager
ANZ Smart Choice Super and Pension Mercer SmartSuper Plan - Employer Section
Asgard Elements Super Mercer Super Trust - Corporate Superannuation Division
Asgard Employee Super MLC MasterKey Business Super
Asgard eWRAP Super MLC MasterKey Super Fundamentals
Asgard Infinity eWRAP Super MLC Navigator Retirement Plan Series 2
AustralianSuper Personal Plan MLC Wrap Super Service Series 2
AustralianSuper Plan MTAA Super
AustralianSuper Public Sector Division netwealth Super Accelerator Core - Employer Sponsored Super
AustralianSuper Select netwealth Super Accelerator Plus - Employer Sponsored Super
AustSafe Super netwealth Super Wrap - Employer Sponsored Super
AvSuper NGS Super
Bendigo SmartStart Super Perpetual Select Super Plan
BT Business Super Plum Super
BT Lifetime Super - Employer Plan Plum Super - Personal Division
BT Super for Life Prime Super (Health Division)
BT SuperWrap Essentials Personal Super Plan Prime Super (Prime Division)
BT SuperWrap Personal Super Plan REI Super
CareSuper Employee Plan REST Corporate
CareSuper Personal Plan REST Super
Child Care Super Russell Investments Master Trust - iQ Super - Employer
Club Plus Super Russell Investments Master Trust - iQ Super - General
Club Super Russell Investments Master Trust - iQ Super - Saver
Colonial First State FirstChoice Employer Super smartMonday DIRECT
Colonial First State FirstChoice Wholesale Personal Super smartMonday PRIME
EISS Super StatewideSuper
Equip MyFuture Suncorp Brighter Super for Business
Equip MyFuture - Corporate Sunsuper for life
First State Super Sunsuper for life Business
GuildSuper Sunsuper for life Corporate
HESTA Tasplan
Hostplus Telstra Super - Personal Plus
Hostplus Executive UniSuper Accumulation 1
Hostplus Personal Super Plan VicSuper FutureSaver
Intrust Super WA Super
IOOF Employer Super  

MySuper Investment Option

Heron has again undertaken an assessment of each products MySuper investment option. For their MySuper rating Heron considers the type of option (LifeStages or Single Diversified), the reliability of the historical return history, the TAA range, the level and type of active/passive management, actual or indicative historical investment performance, ease of understanding and fee based on the PDS disclosure. In addition, in assessing the LifeStages options Heron considered whether the structure included cohorts, the cohort age band period and the cohort curve shape.

Based on this assessment criteria, Heron awarded 5 Stars to the following 32 products.

Outstanding MySuper Option

AMG Super - Corporate Super IOOF Employer Super
AMP - Flexible Super legalsuper
AMP - Flexible Super - Employer LGIAsuper
ANZ Smart Choice Super (Employer Sponsored) Media Super - Employer Sponsored Account
AustralianSuper MTAA Super
Bendigo SmartStart Super NGS Super
BUSSQ MySuper Prime Super
CareSuper Employee Plan REI Super
Cbus REST
Club Plus Russell Investments Master Trust - iQ Super - Employer
EISS StatewideSuper
Equip MyFuture Sunsuper for life
First State Super Tasplan
HESTA UniSuper Accumulation Super (1)
Hostplus VicSuper FutureSaver
Intrust Super WA Super

The assessment of personal and corporate superannuation products undertaken by Heron covers about 120 key product features that are grouped under 5 Areas of Importance of Investment Arrangements, Insurance, Contributions, Ancillary Benefits, and Communications. Investments and Insurance have the greatest impact on a product's rating with weightings of 55% and 30% respectively.

Based on Heron's numeric rating the following products have been designated as Top Ten Products for Investment Features and as Top Ten Products for Insurance Features.

In alphabetical order the Top 10 Personal and Corporate Products in respect to Investment Features are:

Top 10 Investment Features

Personal Corporate
Asgard eWRAP Super AMP Flexible Super - Employer
Asgard Infinity eWRAP Super AMP CustomSuper
Hostplus AMP SignatureSuper
Hostplus Executive AMP SignatureSuper Select
Hostplus Personal Super Plan Asgard Employee Super
IOOF Personal Super IOOF Employer Super
Macquarie Wrap Mercer Super Trust - Corporate Superannuation Division
Mercer SmartSuper Plan - Individual Section Mercer SmartSuper Plan - Employer Section
MLC Navigator Retirement Plan Series 2 Sunsuper for life Business
Sunsuper for life Sunsuper for life Corporate

In alphabetical order the Top 10 Personal and Corporate Products in respect to Insurance Features are:

Top 10 Insurance Features

Personal Corporate
Asgard Elements Super ANZ Smart Choice Super (Employer Sponsored)
Asgard eWRAP Super Asgard Employee Super
Asgard Infinity eWRAP Super BT Business Super
legalsuper BT Lifetime Super - Employer Plan
netwealth Super Accelerator Core - Employer Sponsored Super IOOF Employer Super
netwealth Super Accelerator Plus - Employer Sponsored Super Mercer Super Trust - Corporate Superannuation Division
netwealth Super Wrap - Employer Sponsored Super MLC MasterKey Business Super
Perpetual MySuper Plum Super
Perpetual Select Super Plan Russell Investments Master Trust - iQ Super - Employer
Telstra Super - Personal Plus smartMonday PRIME

The Pension products rated as "outstanding quality" and therefore awarded 5 Heron Quality Stars are (in alphabetical order), as follows.

Outstanding Pension Products

AMP Flexible Lifetime Allocated Pension Plan IOOF Pursuit Focus Allocated Pension
AMP Signature Super Allocated Pension IOOF Pursuit Select Allocated Pension
AMP Summit Personal Pension legalsuper Pension
Asgard Elements Pension MLC MasterKey Pension Fundamentals
Asgard eWRAP Pension MLC Wrap Super - Pension Service
Asgard Infinity eWRAP Pension MLC Navigator Retirement Plan Series 2 - Pension Service
AustralianSuper Choice Income MLC MasterKey Pension
BT SuperWrap Pension Plan MTAA Super Pension
BUSSQ Pension NGS Super Account Based Pension
CareSuper Pension OnePath OneAnswer Frontier Pension
Colonial First State - FirstChoice Pension REST Pension
EISS Pension Russell iQ Retirement
Equipsuper Account Based Pension Statewide Pension
First State Super Income Stream Suncorp Brighter Super - Pension
HESTA Income Stream Sunsuper for Life - Income Account
Hostplus Pension Plan Unisuper Pension
Intrust Super - Super Stream Pension Vision Income Streams

The Heron Quality Star Ratings have 5 levels as follows:

Rating Definition
5 Stars Outstanding
4 Stars Commendable
3 Stars Good
2 Stars Poor
1 Star Unacceptable

Details of the Heron Quality Star Ratings, including the assessment methodology and products awarded with 5 Heron Quality Stars, are featured on The Heron Partnership's web site and their Heron Advisor product research and comparison service.