APRA’s annual release of fund-level superannuation statistics provides a good opportunity to reflect on the state of Australia’s superannuation industry. There are some fascinating trends, some of which seem set to persist.

Cleaning the data

From the APRA data we did the following:

  1. Aggregated multiple providers under the same parent company (e.g. Insignia Financial)
  2. Accounted for announced merger intentions
  3. Estimated assets for CSC based on assets managed rather than defined benefit liabilities

The landscape

Most super assets (excluding SMSFs of course) are managed by a reasonably small number of funds, as highlighted in the chart below.

Aggregating the numbers in the chart there emerges fourteen funds in the “big fund club” (the “Big 14”), who manage just over 80 per cent of industry assets. We created our own definitions to divide the Big 14 into three sub-categories (all approximations): mega (>$250 billion), very large (>$100 billion), and large funds (>$50 billion).

The remaining 20 per cent of industry assets are managed by (again, our definitions) medium (>$30 billion), small (>$10 billion) and very small funds (<$10 billion). We omit to include very small funds in the chart below.

Changing landscape in 2022

There are three important highlights of 2022. The first was the clear emergence of a mega fund category, where AustralianSuper (which continues to benefit from huge net inflows) was joined by Australian Retirement Trust (the merger between Sunsuper and QSuper). The second was Mercer Super joining the big fund club through its acquisition of some of BT’s super operations. The third is reduced numbers of very small funds, due to mergers.

What to expect in 2023 and beyond

Beyond the shrinking number of very small funds, the fact that there were only two significant changes to the super fund landscape suggests that, especially with respect to the big fund club, things move slowly.