Comparing fees vs performance

How do our pensions fees compare to other funds?

Actively managed vs passively managed

Our fees are generally competitive among other ‘actively managed’ retail funds, yet higher than industry and ‘passively managed’ funds. There are good reasons for this:

Sustainable Yield

Active management for improved performance

Many of the cheaper funds don’t select investments that they expect to perform well financially; rather they invest in a pool of shares without looking at each company’s financial credentials – this is called ‘passive’ funds management. In contrast, ‘active’ managers like Australian Ethical have higher fees because of the research and monitoring costs involved in selecting only the investments we expect will perform well financially.

Comprehensive Ethical Research

Comprehensive Ethical Research

In addition to choosing the investments we expect to perform best financially, we undertake an additional layer of research to ensure each company we invest in passes our strict positive and negative ethical screens. We seek out positive investments that support people, quality and sustainability. We avoid investments that cause unnecessary harm to people, animals, society and environment.


Comparing fees vs performance

Some other funds’ advertisements are centred around their fees being lower.

We believe this can be misleading.

While it’s true that the amount of fees you pay will affect your retirement outcome, the fuller picture that will determine your total gain is net performance. So it makes sense to look at the return of your investment after fees have been taken out.

The performance figures on our website are all net performance – which is the performance result after fees have been taken out.

Example Consider these 2 scenarios:

Fred has a balance of $10,000 at the start of the year. His fund charges fees of 2%, and the performance of his investment for the year is 8% gross of fees. The net performance is 6%, and he ends up with $10,600.

Mary has a balance of $10,000 at the start of the year. Her fund charges fees of 1%, and the performance of her investment for the year is 4% gross of fees. The net performance is 3%, and she ends up with $10,300.

These two scenarios illustrate that it’s not merely fees that matter, it’s net performance that will ultimately determine your retirement outcome.


What are the fees?

Below is an overview of the fees and costs that may be applicable to your pension account with Australian Ethical.

You need to read our Pensions Product Disclosure Statement for the full list and explanation of fees and costs, as well as examples on how these fees and costs affect your investment.

There have been changes to fees from 2 October, please see our update page for more information.

Type of fee or cost Amount^ How and when paid
Investment fee Defensive 0.50% p.a. Investment fees are paid from the Fund’s assets prior to unit prices being calculated. The investment fee you pay will depend on the investment options you are invested in.
Conservative 0.63% p.a.
Balanced (pension) 0.67% p.a.
Growth 0.99% p.a
International Shares 1.29% p.a.
Australian Shares 1.25% p.a.
Administration fee $97 per annum, plus 0.41% of your account balance per annum. Dollar based fees are deducted from your account monthly. Percentage administration fees are paid from the Fund’s assets prior to unit prices being calculated.
Buy-sell spread Defensive 0.00% p.a. Applied to the unit price before processing each buy and sell transaction.
Conservative 0.05% p.a.
Balanced (pension) 0.10% p.a.
Growth 0.10% p.a
International Shares 0.10% p.a.
Australian Shares 0.20% p.a.
Switching fee Nil@
Exit fee $50 Deducted from your account balance at the time of withdrawing either a full or partial benefit from your account. Exit fees are not charged on pension payments.
Advice fee Nil Additional fees may be payable if a financial adviser is consulted.
Other fees and costs Nil
Indirect cost ratio* Defensive 0.00% Indirect costs are deducted from the Fund’s assets, or assets of interposed vehicles, before the unit price is calculated.
Conservative 0.02%
Balanced (pension) 0.06%
Balanced (accumulation) 0.08%
Growth 0.11%
International Shares 0.00%
Australian Shares 0.01%

^ The fees shown are current for the 2018-2019 financial year and are subject to change. Further information and definitions of the fees can be found at australianethical.com.au/super/fees/
@ You may incur a buy-sell spread whenever units are bought or sold including by way of switching. However, you won’t be charged a switching fee in addition to the buy-sell spread.
* The indirect cost ratio is calculated at 30 June each year based on the previous 12 months. These may change from year to year. In 2018-2019, we continue to build out our investment in alternative and property assets using specialist asset managers. The approximate indirect cost ratio ranges are estimated to be between 0.03% and 0.05% for Conservative, 0.08% and 0.10% for Balanced (Pension), 0.11% and 0.13% for Balanced (accumulation), 0.14% and 0.16% for Growth. All other options are estimated at Nil. These estimates may be exceeded depending on the investments made by any option.

If you consult a financial adviser, additional fees may be payable to the adviser. You should refer to the adviser’s Statement of Advice for details.

Fee definitions

Type of fee or cost Definition
Activity fees A fee is an activity fee if:(a) the fee relates to costs incurred by the trustee of the superannuation entity that are directly related to an activity of the trustee:(i) that is engaged in at the request, or with the consent, of a member; or(ii) that relates to a member and is required by law; and(b) those costs are not otherwise charged as an administration fee, an investment fee, a buy/sell spread, a switching fee, an exit fee, an advice fee or an insurance fee.
Administration fees An administration fee is a fee that relates to the administration or operation of the superannuation entity and includes costs incurred by the trustee of the entity that:(a) relate to the administration or operation of the entity; and(b) are not otherwise charged as an investment fee, a buy/sell spread, a switching fee, an exit fee, an activity fee, an advice fee or an insurance fee.
Advice fees A fee is an advice fee if:(a) the fee relates directly to costs incurred by the trustee of the superannuation entity because of the provision of financial product advice to a member by:(i) a trustee of the entity; or(ii) another person acting as an employee of, or under an arrangement with, the trustee of the entity; and(b) those costs are not otherwise charged as an administration fee, an investment fee, a switching fee, an exit fee, an activity fee or an insurance fee.
Buy/sell spreads A buy/sell spread is a fee to recover transaction costs incurred by the trustee of the superannuation entity in relation to the sale and purchase of assets of the entity.
Exit fees An exit fee is a fee to recover the costs of disposing of all or part of members’ interests in the superannuation entity.
Indirect cost ratio The indirect cost ratio (ICR) for a MySuper product or an investment option offered by a superannuation entity, is the ratio of the total of the indirect costs for the MySuper product or investment option, to the total average net assets of the superannuation entity attributed to the MySuper product or investment option.Note: A dollar-based fee deducted directly from a member’s account is not included in the indirect cost ratio.
Investment fees An investment fee is a fee that relates to the investment of the assets of a superannuation entity and includes:(a) fees in payment for the exercise of care and expertise in the investment of those assets (including performance fees); and(b) costs incurred by the trustee of the entity that:(i) relate to the investment of assets of the entity; and(ii) are not otherwise charged as an administration fee, a buy/sell spread, a switching fee, an exit fee, an activity fee, an advice fee or an insurance fee.
Switching fees A switching fee is a fee to recover the costs of switching all or part of a member’s interest in the superannuation entity from one class of beneficial interest in the entity to another.

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