Annual Outcomes Assessment

Our members’ best interests are the key driver behind everything we do at Media Super.

An Annual Outcomes Assessment is undertaken to determine if we are promoting our members’ financial interests. We are required to assess our MySuper product, as well as the Choice super and pension products we offer our members.

The annual assessment will help members to better understand how the fund is performing for them, and to make informed comparisons and decisions about their retirement savings.

Below you will find information about what factors are considered in the assessment, our determination about the fund’s performance for the financial year to 30 June 2020, and a summary and comparison of our products against internal and external benchmarks.

Assessing our performance

Media Super sets objectives and benchmarks each year for our operations and performance to ensure we are striving to achieve the best possible retirement outcomes for our members.

The following factors were considered in the Annual Outcomes Assessment for Media Super’s MySuper and Choice products to determine if we are promoting the financial interest of Media Super members:

  • Fees and costs
  • Our investment strategy, including performance and investment risk
  • Our insurance benefit design and pricing
  • Options, benefits and facilities offered to members
  • Our operating costs
  • Our basis for setting fees
  • Impact of our size and scale on member outcomes

Our assessment considered internal data about our operations and performance, internal benchmarks and objectives set in Media Super’s business plan, as well as external information such as data released by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA), SuperRatings benchmark reports and surveys, and publicly available information about the performance and operations of other super funds.

  • Who have we compared our performance against?

    Throughout the Annual Outcomes Assessment, you’ll see our performance compared against the ‘market median’ or a ‘peer group median’.

    For MySuper product comparisons we’re required to compare our performance against all other MySuper products offered in the market; this is referred to as the ‘market median’.

    For Choice super and pension products we’re required to compare our performance against a peer group of comparable products; this is referred to as the ‘peer group median’. For some criteria, we have also compared our MySuper performance against the peer group.

    We have selected a peer group of 14 Choice products, including a mix of industry and retail superannuation funds, across a range of fund sizes. Considerations for choosing the peer group included super funds that have an overlap with our core industries or are the default for key employers in our industries, similarity of choice products offered, or funds we’ve identified as key competitors. Details of the peer group used in the Annual Outcomes Assessment for the financial year to 30 June 2020 can be found at the bottom of this page.

Trustee determination for the financial year to 30 June 2020

This is the first year that super funds have been required to undertake the Annual Outcomes Assessment and the results cover the financial year to 30 June 2020.

Based on the Annual Outcomes Assessment, our Board of Trustees determined that Media Super is promoting the financial interest of our members, including MySuper and Choice (super and pension) product holders.

The Board did identify areas for improvement and recognise that seeking a merger with a larger fund with greater economies of scale and broader investment capabilities would likely lead to improved outcomes for members.

More information regarding each of these areas is set out in the product comparisons and assessment below, including work already underway for areas of improvement.

Product comparison

In this section you’ll find an assessment of criteria specific to our MySuper, Choice super and Choice pension products, and a comparison against the market median or a peer group of super funds.

  • MySuper – our default superannuation product

    Media Super’s default MySuper product is our Balanced investment option, and this is where the majority of super members’ money is invested. Super members have access to a broad range of other investment options; these are assessed in the Choice product summary.

    Fees and costs

    The fees on our MySuper product are well below the market median.

    Our dollar-based ($1.25 per week) and asset-based administration fee (0.15%) are both lower than the market median, and the total investment fee for the Balanced (MySuper) investment option is also below the market median.

    The below graph illustrates the total fees (administration and investment) a Media Super member with a balance of $50,000, $100,000 or $150,000 pays compared to the market median.

    MySuper fees

    Investment performance

    Media Super’s Balanced (MySuper) investment option has delivered strong investment returns for members over the long term.

    At 30 June 2020, the Balanced (MySuper) option had performed above the market median over 1, 3, 5 and 7 years. Over 10 years, the option had performed in line with the market median.

    MySuper investment performance

    The data for the MySuper options is based on APRA Quarterly MySuper statistics for 1-year returns, APRA MySuper Product Heatmaps for 3 and 5-year returns and SuperRatings Fund Crediting Rate Survey for 7 and 10-year returns.

    You can find more information about the Balanced (MySuper) option’s performance on the super investment performance page.

    Investment risk

    Like any other investment, super is subject to risk. Investment risk refers to the likelihood that your investment could lose money, not make as much as expected or change in value quicker than expected.

    Media Super’s Balanced (MySuper) investment option recorded negative returns in 11 months over the four-year period to 30 June 2020. Most super funds in our peer comparison group recorded a negative monthly return in these same months. In 8 out of 11 of these months, Media Super was able to achieve a similar or better return than both our peer funds and the market median.

    If we look at risk-adjusted returns that consider how much risk is associated with an investment’s return (also known as the Sharpe Ratio), our Balanced (MySuper) option is ranked above the market median over 1, 3, 5, 7 and 10 years. Members can have confidence knowing their retirement savings are not only generating strong returns relative to peers and the market median, but that we’re also not taking an unnecessary amount of risk to get there.

    More information about risk-adjusted returns can be found in the ‘Investment strategy’ assessment below.

    You can find more information about investment risk in the Investment Guide, including standard risk measures for our full range of investment options.

  • Choice superannuation products

    Media Super’s superannuation members have access to a diverse range of investment options to suit different needs. For the Annual Outcomes Assessment, we focused on six options (High Growth, Growth, Balanced, Indexed Balanced, Moderate Growth and Stable) as this is where the majority of Choice super members are invested.

    Fees and costs

    For each of the 6 Choice investment options considered, our dollar-based administration fee ($1.25 per week) and asset-based administration fee (0.15%) are lower than the peer group median. Our total investment fee for these options was also lower, with the exception of the High Growth option, which was in line with the median.

    The following table sets out the total fees (administration and investment) for each of the six investment options that a member with a $50,000 balance pays, compared to the peer group median for comparable products.

    Choice investment option fee comparison

    Please see notes on data limitations at bottom of this page regarding peer group exclusions for Choice products.

    Investment performance

    Media Super’s Choice investment options have generally performed strongly over the medium and long term (with the exception of the Indexed Balanced option, which was only launched in 2019).

    The High Growth, Growth and Stable investment options have outperformed or been in line with the peer group median over 3, 5, 7 and 10 years to 30 June 2020. Performance information for the Balanced option can be found in the ‘MySuper’ section above.

    Choice performance - HG, G and S


    The Moderate Growth option has performed in line with the peer group median over three years, and slightly below the median over five years. As this option was launched in 2014, it does not have a long-term performance history. We have recently changed the investment strategy for Moderate Growth to improve returns going forward.

    Choice performance - mod growth

    The Indexed Balanced investment option’s performance to 30 June 2020 was below the peer group median; however, the option was only launched in 2019 and there is no long-term performance history.

    In 2020, our Choice super products were awarded a Platinum Rating by SuperRatings, recognising that we are a “best value for money” superannuation fund, with an “excellent” rating for our Choice investment options.

    You can find more information about Media Super’s full range of investment options on the super investment performance page.

    Investment risk

    Like any other investment, super is subject to risk. Investment risk refers to the likelihood that your investment could lose money, not make as much as expected or change in value quicker than expected.

    Media Super uses the Standard Risk Measure (SRM) to describe the risk that applies to each of our investment options. The SRM is based on industry guidance to allow members to compare investment options that are expected to deliver a similar number of negative annual returns over any 20-year period.

    Our assessment against the peer group showed that the estimated number of negative return periods for each of the 6 options considered are either in line with, or lower, than the peer fund median. This indicates that Media Super’s investment options are not taking on unnecessary levels of investment risk than comparable options provided by peer funds.

    Members can have confidence that their retirement savings are not only generating strong returns relative to peers but that we’re also not taking an unnecessary amount of risk to get there.

    You can find more information about investment risk in the Investment Guide, including standard risk measures for our full range of investment options.

  • Choice pension product

    Media Super’s pension members have access to a diverse range of investment options; however, the Annual Outcomes Assessment has only considered the Balanced pension investment option, as this is where most pension members are invested.

    Fees and costs

    Both the dollar-based ($1.25 per week) and asset-based (0.15%) administration fees for Media Super pension members are below the market median. Investment fees for the Balanced pension investment option are also below the market median.

    The following table sets out total fees (administration and investment) that a pension member with a $250,000 balance pays if they’re invested in the pension Balanced investment option, compared with the peer group median.

    Choice pension fee comparison

    1. Estimated as the median fixed dollar administration fee, plus the median asset-based administration fee that applies to each representative balance.

    Investment performance

    Investment performance for pension investment options was not specifically assessed as part of the Annual Outcomes Assessment. Pension members are able to invest in the same range of investment options as super members, but investment performance for Pension members will be different due to the tax applied to super members’ investment earnings.

    Media Super’s Balanced pension investment option has delivered strong, long-term returns for members, with above median returns for 3, 5, 7 and 10 years to 30 June 2020 (SuperRatings Fund Crediting Survey SRP50 Balanced, June 2020).

    In 2020, our pension product was awarded a Platinum Rating by SuperRatings, recognising that we are a “best value for money” superannuation fund, with an “excellent” rating for our pension investment options.

    Investment performance for the full range of pension investment options is available on the pension investment performance page.

Product assessment

This section looks at assessment criteria that apply to the fund and our membership more broadly, rather than to one specific product or membership group.

  • Options, benefits and facilities offered

    The assessment of our options, benefits and facilities offered to members looks at our offering to each member group (MySuper, Choice super and Choice pension) and whether it’s appropriate for those members.

    Key assessment criteria include:

    • Growth metrics, such as year-on-year new member growth, market share, net asset growth, average member balances and active member ratio
    • Member servicing and engagement, which focuses on member education, scaled advice and financial advice provided
    • Fund administration
    • Fund governance, including risk management, compliance, disclosure, and Board structure.

    These features have been compared using the SuperRatings annual benchmarking report for 2019 (the 2020 report was not available at the time of assessment), which compares all super funds.

    SuperRatings awarded Media Super’s MySuper, Choice super and pension products a Plantinum rating. This means the product offerings are within the first quartile (top 25%) of all super funds and that Media Super is a “best value for money” super fund. This is an improvement from the Gold rating Media Super achieved for the 2016 to 2018 financial years.

    Based on SuperRating’s report, Media Super performed well above benchmark for the ‘governance’ and ‘member servicing and engagement’ criteria, and also that it performed above benchmark for the growth metrics and administration criteria.

    The strength of Media Super’s risk management framework and compliance processes were key aspects of our ‘governance’ being ranked well above the benchmark.

    At Media Super, we believe educated and engaged members make better informed decisions about their superannuation, leading to better retirement outcomes over their lifetime. We are pleased that SuperRatings has recognised the quality of our education and advice offerings and their positive impact on member outcomes.

  • Our investment strategy

    Media Super sets investment objectives, including both return objectives and risk objectives, for each of our investment options.

    • Return objectives are predominantly set for a rolling 10-year period by targeting a hurdle rate (minimum rate of acceptable return) over inflation (e.g. CPI +3%), as well as a minimum likelihood this will be achieved.
    • Risk objectives estimate the chance that a negative return will occur in any given financial year (e.g. less than 1 in 6).

    We are confident that our investment strategy for MySuper and Choice investment options is appropriate for our members and will continue to achieve the set objectives for each investment option.

    As you can see in the below table, Media Super’s 10-year net returns for our pre-mixed options have outperformed their benchmarks.

    Please note, the table does not include the Moderate Growth or Indexed Balanced options as they do not have 10 years of performance history (their inception dates are 2014 and 2019 respectively). You can find current performance for these options in the performance section and historical performance in our annual reports.

    Performance against benchmarks

    1. The annualised CPI rate is calculated using CPI index data sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and annualised over the ten-year period from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2020.

    Risk-adjusted returns

    The Sharpe ratio is one metric used to understand the return of an investment option relative to the risk it holds. A higher Sharpe ratio indicates an investment is performing well in comparison to how much risk it has and can be thought of as a sign of an efficient investment strategy.

    Thinking about risk-adjusted returns (rather than returns without consideration of how much risk an investment has) helps to holistically compare two investments. In this instance, an investment with a higher Sharpe ratio is achieving a higher return ‘per unit’ of risk.

    Media Super’s Balanced (MySuper) investment option has delivered superior risk-adjusted returns for members over the medium to long term.

    As shown in the table below, the Balanced (MySuper) option is ranked in the first and second quartiles (above the median) for risk-adjusted returns when compared to all super funds included in the SuperRatings Accumulation Volatility and Risk-Adjusted Return Survey (Balanced).

    Risk adjusted returns
  • Insurance benefit design and pricing

    Media Super offers Death only, Death and Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD), and Income Protection insurance cover to our super members. We work hard to ensure that the cover is cost-effective and valuable to our members.

    The Annual Outcomes Assessment considered whether our insurance offering is appropriate for MySuper and Choice super members. The assessment looks at our insurance strategy and cost and is based on SuperRating’s annual benchmark report for 2019 (the 2020 report was not available at the time of assessment).

    Based on SuperRating’s reports for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 financial years, Media Super’s insurance offering consistently achieved a rating ‘above benchmark’.

    Benefit design

    Our insurance offering compared well against the broader super industry on benefit design for Death and TPD cover, as well as choice and flexibility for all cover types. We determined that a few areas are less competitive, such as the Income Protection benefit design and automatic acceptance level for default cover.

    Pricing

    To assess the cost of our insurance offering, the insurance premiums for default cover (Death, TPD and Income Protection) are expressed as a percentage of estimated member salary. This was benchmarked against the 1% requirement in the Insurance in Superannuation Voluntary Code of Practice – which Media Super has adopted – to consider whether premiums are appropriate for our membership.

    Our assessment showed that the total insurance premium remained broadly in line with or below 1%, except for members at the youngest end and some older members.

    Review of insurance arrangements

    While SuperRatings has rated our insurance offering as ‘above benchmark’, we regularly review our insurance offering to ensure it continues to be appropriate and provides adequacy of cover for default members, with the ability to tailor insurance to your needs if a different level of cover is needed.

    The cost of insurance cover is determined by multiple factors including the claims experience of the fund (how many claims have been made against the policy). It is important that you always review the level of cover you have and make sure it is appropriate for your needs. Find out more about how much insurance cover you may need.

    We are currently undergoing an insurance review with any changes to the cover provided to be communicated to you in May 2021.

  • Our operating costs

    Operating costs include all of the costs and expenses incurred in running Media Super, such as administration of member accounts, technology, investment management, staff and member communication.

    We have analysed our operating expenses on a per member basis (this helps to compare costs across different sized super funds) and based our analysis on data published by APRA in the Annual Fund-Level Statistics.

    Media Super’s operating cost per member is $271, which is higher than the peer group median but below the market median. Our operating cost as a percentage of assets under management is in line with the peer group median and below the market median.

    Operating cost comparison

    The funds with the lowest operating cost per member utilise benefits of scale created by their larger size. We recognise that our operating costs may benefit from the scale offered by merging with a larger fund and expect operating costs to improve following the proposed merger with Cbus (see ‘Size and scale’ section below for further information).

  • Basis for setting fees

    In the product comparisons above, we noted that fees for our MySuper, Choice super and pension products are below the market and peer group medians. We have also assessed whether the basis for setting our fees is appropriate for these member groups, which considers the structure of our fees, including any fee caps or discounts offered, as well the balancing of fees between various member groups.

    The same administration and investment fee structure applies across our whole membership (MySuper, Choice super and pension) and we determined that it is comparable to how our peer group of funds and the broader super industry set fees.

    Our fee structure is made up of:

    • a weekly administration fee of $1.25 (or $65 per annum)
    • an asset-based administration fee of 0.15% (of balance) per annum
    • asset-based investment fees.

    Media Super has a cap of $600 per annum for the asset-based component of our administration fee. A cap on administration fees is common practice across the super industry for members with high account balances.

    Investment fees vary between investment options, noting that growth-oriented options typically have higher investment fees.

    Basis for setting fees


    We determined that our fee structure is appropriate for our membership across the MySuper, Choice super and pension member groups, based on factors such as age, investment option and account balance.

  • Our size and scale

    The size and scale of a super fund (including membership numbers and funds under management) can impact everything from fees to investment opportunities, as well as to the services and facilities a fund can offer members.

    In assessing the impact of our size and scale, we considered all of the above assessed factors, including our fees and costs, investment performance, insurance design and costs, benefits and facilities offered, growth metrics and operating costs, as well as looking at the longer-term sustainability of the fund.

    While our performance in many of these areas has been in line with or above the performance of our peer group and the market, we recognise that Media Super members may be disadvantaged, or may become disadvantaged in the future, due to our scale. We anticipate that some member outcomes could be improved by an increase in scale.

    Recognising the potential benefits of increased scale, Media Super’s Board had been investigating potential merger partners and in July 2020, Media Super and Cbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding. We expect the proposed merger will improve a number of member outcomes.

    By increasing our size, we can provide our members’ access to a greater range of investment opportunities and provide a better deal through cost savings, as well being able to provide a greater range of services to our members.

Disclaimers, data sources and data limitations

  • Investment warnings and disclaimers

    Investment returns shown are net of investment and administration fees and taxes.

    Investment returns are not guaranteed and past performance gives no indication of future returns. Historical investment performance can be found in Media Super’s annual reports.

  • Data sources and limitations

    Details of Standard Risk Measures (SRM) for Media Super’s investment options (MySuper and Choice) can be found in the Media Super Investment Guide. The Annual Outcomes Assessment referenced SRM in the 1 April 2020 Investment Guide, which is no longer available on our website; please contact us to obtain a copy.

    Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority data at 30 June 2020:

    • Annual fund level superannuation statistics
    • Quarterly MySuper statistics
    • MySuper Product heatmap

    SuperRatings Benchmark reports – 2016 to 2019

    • Please note, the 2020 report was not yet available at the time of this assessment.

    SuperRatings Fund Crediting Rate Surveys to 30 June 2020:

    • SR50 Balanced (60-76) Index
    • SRP50 Balanced (60-76) Index
    • High Growth (91-100)
    • Growth (77-90)
    • Capital Stable (20-40)
    • Accumulation Volatility and Risk-Adjusted Return Survey, Balanced (60-76)

    SuperRatings Platinum 2020 Ratings (https://www.superratings.com.au/ratings-and-awards/)

    • MySuper
    • Choice Super
    • Pension
  • Details of peer group used for assessment

    The super funds and products included in the peer group for the Annual Outcomes Assessment for the financial year to 30 June 2020:

    • AMP – Signature Super
    • Australian Ethical – Super and Account Based Pension
    • Australian Super – Super Plan and Choice Income Account
    • CareSuper – Accumulation and Pension
    • HostPlus – Accumulation and Pension Plan
    • LUCRF – Super and Retirement Pension
    • Mercer Super Trust – Mercer Super Trust and Mercer Super Trust Allocated Pension
    • MLC Super Fund (including Plum) – MasterKey Business Super, Masterkey Pension Fundamentals, Plum Personal Plan and Plum Retirement Income
    • Rest – Super and Allocated Pension
    • Russell Investment Master Trust - Russell IQ General Super and Russell iQ Retirement
    • TWUSUPER – Super and TransPension
    • UniSuper – Accum 1 Super and Flexi Pension
    • BT – Super
    • NGS Super – Accumulation and Income Account

    Please note the following peer group exclusions and/or data limitations for Choice products used in the fee comparison for the Choice Super Product Comparison:

    • Indexed Balanced: Australian Ethical, CareSuper, LUCRF, Russell, TWUSUPER, and UniSuper are excluded from the peer group as they do not offer an 'Indexed Balanced' option. LUCRF's 'Indexed Balanced' option incepted on 8 October 2020.
    • High Growth: AustralianSuper, CareSuper, Hostplus, Rest are excluded from the peer group as they do not offer a 'High Growth' option (>90% growth allocation).
    • Growth: LUCRF and TWUSuper are excluded from the peer group as they do not offer a 'Growth' option.
    • Moderate Growth: AMP, Australian Ethical, Rest and TWUSUPER are excluded from the peer group as they do not offer a 'Moderate Growth' option.
    • Stable: TWUSUPER is excluded from the peer group as it does not offer a 'stable' option.