Industry superannuation funds managed to shade their retail counterparts during the March quarter, according to the latest data released by Chant West.
The data revealed that industry funds returned 2.5 per cent for quarter compared to 2.4 per cent for retail funds.
The Chant West research confirmed super funds had a solid March quarter, with the median growth fund (61 to 80 per cent growth assets) up 2.5 per cent, continuing the positive performances recorded in the previous two quarters of 3.1 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively.
The research firm noted that this meant the cumulative return for the first nine months of the 2016/17 financial year was now a healthy 8.5 per cent.
Chant West director, Warren Chant said the March quarter return was driven mainly by strong share markets with Australian shares advancing 4.7 per cent while international shares were up 5.4 per cent in hedged terms but, with the appreciation of the Australian dollar (up from US$0.72 to US$0.76 over the month), the return in unhedged terms was lower at 0.9 per cent.
Listed property was down with Australian and global real estate investment trusts (REITs) retreating 0.1 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.
Chant pointed to an increasingly strong likelihood of Australian super funds recording their eighth consecutive year of positive returns.
“Growth funds have performed better than expected this financial year,” he said. “With only the June quarter remaining, there’s a very good chance that they’ll deliver an eighth consecutive positive financial year return. This is particularly impressive given the uncertain economic and political climate we’ve seen over the past few years.”