Australia's women own $1.2 trillion in superannuation

Published on
Money women own in superannuation

Despite the superannuation system being stacked against them, women own $1.2 trillion in superannuation.

And women are an economic force to be reckoned with as they now dominate the memberships of some of Australia's biggest and best super funds

But while they comprise half of the population, women own just $44 of every $100 dollars Australia has in superannuation savings.

The proportion of superannuation owned by women varies slightly across market segments, however.

About 45% of savings in industry super funds belongs to women, while the figure is slightly lower for retail funds at 39%. Forty-one percent of savings in self-managed super funds is owned by women.

But for public sector and corporate super funds, the ratio of women's ownership is much lower at just 36% and 34% each.

"The surprising thing is that the proportion of women's ownership is the same regardless of their age," said Alex Dunnin, executive director of research and compliance at Rainmaker Information.

"Women make up 50% of millennials yet own just 43% of all the superannuation millennials own. Women make up 53% of retirees yet own just 44% of all superannuation owned by retirees."

Rainmaker's research also found that industry funds boast the most female members, followed by SMSFs and retail funds.

"Australia's women keep 42% of their superannuation in industry funds, 26% in SMSFs, 22% in retail funds, but only 8% in public sector funds and a tiny 2% in corporate funds," said Dunnin.

Superannuation savings owned by women, 2021

It's why industry super funds are such vocal advocates for women's superannuation, especially low-paid women, he said.

Rainmaker's analysis of super fund membership information published by APRA reveals that Rest has the greatest number of female members at almost 1.1 million.

Rest is also home to the most young women, being those aged 34 or less.

There is, however, a new leader for the fund with the most savings owned by women: the Australian Retirement Trust born from the merger of QSuper and Sunsuper. They pushed the previous women's superannuation savings leader, Aware Super, into second place. Australian Retirement Trust has $103 billion owned by women.

However, Aware Super has the most superannuation savings owned by female retirees, i.e., aged 65 or older.

Guild Super has the highest share of women members, ADF Super has the highest share of women members who are young and the retirement specialist Challenger has the highest share of women members who are retired.

But measured by which funds dominate the most of these metrics, Rainmaker said the power players, in alphabetical order, are Aware Super, HESTA and Rest.

"It should surprise no one that the leading super funds for women are most often those that support industries they dominate like healthcare, hospitality and the public sector," said Dunnin.

Super funds with the most savings owned by women, 2021

Name of fund

$ billion

Share of all women's super

Australian Retirement Trust

103

8.6%

Aware Super

88

7.3%

AustralianSuper

80

6.6%

HESTA

50

4.1%

Commonwealth Super

49

4.1%

UniSuper

46

3.8%

Colonial First State

38

3.1%

Rest

37

3.1%

BT

35

2.9%

Hostplus

28

2.3%

   

Source: APRA, Rainmaker Information

Super funds with the most women members, 2021

Name of fund

Members

Share of all women fund members
Rest

1,097,126

10.4%

Aust Retirement Trust

1,031,654

9.8%

Australian Super

1,009,510

9.6%

HESTA

731,664

7.0%

Aware Super

721,103

6.9%

Hostplus

670,261

6.4%

MLC Super

386,079

3.7%

BT

379,710

3.6%

AMP Super

332,445

3.2%

ANZ Wealth

322,132

3.1%

   

Source: APRA, Rainmaker