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Super FAQs

General FAQs

I’m changing employer – can I keep my super with you?

You can keep your super with us when start your new job. All you need to do is complete the Choice of Fund Form, give it to your new employer and they can start putting your super contributions into your Australian Ethical Super account.

What are Australian Ethical Super’s fund details?

Our Australian Business Number (ABN): 49 633 667 743

Our Fund name: Australian Ethical Super

Our Fund address: Australian Ethical Super, Locked Bag 20013, Melbourne VIC 3001

Our Fund Phone number: 1800 021 227

Our Unique Superannuation Identifier (USI): AET0100AU

Our Superannuation Fund Number (SFN): 4794/449/82

Usually you would need this information when changing jobs or if you’ve recently joined. You can complete our Super Choice form and get your employer to make contributions to your Australian Ethical Super account.

Is Australian Ethical Super a complying superannuation fund?

Yes. This Statement of Compliance lets you know we are a complying superannuation fund.

Can you provide my employer with bank account details?

We cannot provide your employer with bank account details. Australian Ethical accepts payments from any SuperStream compliant clearing house. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) also offers a Small Business Superannuation Clearing House at no charge for eligible small businesses.

How much super will I need when I retire?

The amount of super you need when you retire depends on many things, from how long you live to the type of lifestyle you’d like to have in your retirement. Find out more with our retirement income simulator.

Can I get financial advice through the fund?

We’re not able to provide you with personal financial advice but our Helpline team can provide you with general information on topics such as salary sacrificing, understanding our investment options, and the insurance options we offer.  

We recommend you speak with a licensed adviser before you make any financial decisions. 

If you are looking for an ethical adviser, you can find one in your area by using the Find an Adviser tool through the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).  

When can I claim my super benefits and what is my preservation age?

It depends how old you are. You may be able to withdraw your super if you’ve reached the appropriate preservation age which is between 55 and 60 depending on when you were born (see below) and have permanently retired. If you haven't permanently retired, you can still access part of your super through a transition to retirement pension.

Date of birth Preservation age
Before 1 July 1960 55
1 July 1960 to 30 June 1961 56
1 July 1961 to 30 June 1962 57
1 July 1962 to 30 June 1963 58
1 July 1963 to 30 June 1964 59
After 1 July 1964 60

Apart from permanent retirement and reaching your preservation age, you can access your retirement savings under the following circumstances (one is usually enough):

  • you reach age 65

  • you are permanently retired on or after age 60

  • you have a terminal illness

  • you become totally and permanently disabled/permanently incapacitated

  • you experience severe financial hardship and meet certain requirements

  • you have compassionate grounds for needing the money, as approved by the ATO

  • if you are a temporary resident on a specified class of visa and you permanently depart Australia.

If you have any questions please call our Helpline team on 1800 021 227, 8:30 am to 5:30pm (AEST), Monday - Friday.


Rollover, contributions and switching

How do I find or rollover my super?

If you're already an Australian Ethical Super member, you can log into your account and head to the ‘Find my Super’ section to find and combine your other super fund(s) – no paperwork or hassle.

Alternatively, you can log into or create a myGov account to find your super.

If you’re not a customer yet, you can join online and roll your super over.  Once your account is set up, you can log in and follow the above instructions.

You can learn more here.

You can also call us to rollover your accounts on 1800 021 227 8:30am to 5:30pm (AEST), Monday - Friday.

NOTE: The process will be quicker if you have your previous fund names and member numbers ready.

IMPORTANT: Any insurance you have with other funds will be cancelled when you leave, so check your existing cover BEFORE you roll out. You may be eligible to transfer the insurance cover you have with your other fund over to us.

Why should I rollover?

Having all your money in one account means it reduces your fees so it can work harder for you over the long term. It also easier for you to keep track with just one statement every year.  

Rolling over or consolidating is the act of merging all your super accounts into one account, and chances are, if you've had more than one job, you'll have more than one super account. 

How do I make personal (after-tax) contributions?

You can make personal contributions any time. They’re called non-concessional contributions because they’re made from your salary after income tax has been deducted.  These are subject to contribution caps which are explained in the FAQ below. 

To make a contribution via BPAY® you’ll need your Australian Ethical Super BPAY® Customer Reference Number (CRN) and our BPAY® Biller Code.

These details are available by logging into your online account in the ‘Personal details’ section (scroll to the bottom of the page) or call our Helpline team on 1800 021 227 8:30 am to 5:30pm (AEST), Monday - Friday.

If you’re making a payment through BPAY®, it can take us up to two business days to receive it. This also depends on your financial institution’s processing times.

You may be eligible for co-contributions from the Government on different types of personal contributions. Refer to the ATO for more information.

Note: You can also claim a tax deduction on certain personal contributions which means your contribution is no longer ‘after tax’.  These then count towards your concessional contributions cap for the year. 

By submitting a Notice of intention to claim a tax deduction for personal super contributions to the Fund, you can have some or all your after-tax contributions treated as before-tax contributions. 

If you’re considering making contributions in this way, we recommend professional tax advice as limits and other conditions may apply. For more information about making additional contributions, visit the ATO website

Can I make additional (before-tax) contributions (salary sacrifice)?

Yes. In addition to making the required superannuation guarantee contributions of 10% to your nominated super fund, your employer may be able to support salary sacrifice arrangements.  

Under this arrangement, your employer deducts a specified amount from your pay (before it gets taxed) and sends it to your nominated super account. These contributions will also count as concessional contributions and limits apply (see the below FAQ).

You can also learn more here. 

Are there any contribution limits?

Contribution limits or ‘caps’ are set by the Government and differ depending whether you’re making non-concessional (after-tax) or concessional (before-tax) contributions. If you do make contributions that exceed the cap, you may have to pay additional tax, and excess concessional contributions may also be counted towards your non-concessional cap.

Your ability to make certain types of contributions may be affected by your total super balance (for example, the total amount you have in super and/or pension accounts at 30 June of the previous financial year.)

For more information on your contribution limits and what they might mean for you, visit the ATO website.

What happens to my insurance if I don’t contribute to my account?

Inactive accounts and Insurance – From 1 July 2019 we’re no longer able to provide insurance cover through your super when your account has been inactive (regardless of your account balance) unless you let us know you’d like to continue to receive insurance.  

An account is considered inactive if money hasn’t been paid into your account for a continuous period of 16 months.  

Please see out website for more information on how the changes from 1 July 2019 might affect you

If you do opt-in to keep your insurance, you still need to make sure you have enough money in your super to pay for insurance premiums on a monthly basis.

How do I make or receive spouse contributions?

To receive a spouse contribution into your Australian Ethical Super account, you’ll need to provide your spouse with your Australian Ethical Super BPAY® Customer Reference Number (CRN) and our BPAY® Biller Code.

NOTE: Your BPAY biller code for spousal contributions is different to your personal contribution’s biller code. These details are available by logging into your super account in the ‘Personal details’ section (scroll to the bottom) or contacting our Helpline team on 1800 021 227.

If your spouse’s income is below a level set by the ATO, and eligibility conditions are met, you may be able to make spousal contributions to your spouse’s super account which receive a tax offset.

Information on income levels, eligibility requirements and the level of tax offsets can be found on the ATO website.

NOTE: This doesn’t mean splitting your own contributions between your spouse and yourself. For information on contribution splitting please visit page 7 of our additional information booklet.

For the purposes of superannuation, a 'spouse' means another person (of any sex) who:

  • you’re in a relationship with that is registered under a prescribed state or territory law,

  • although not legally married to you, lives with you on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.

Are there fees or charges to switch my investment?

We don’t charge a switching fee but you do need to consider the Buy-Sell spread which is applied to the unit price to calculate the Buy and Sell unit prices which are used in processing a switch. 

When processing a switch, the Sell unit price is used in selling of units in one investment option and the Buy unit price is used in buying units in the new investment option. More information on our Buy-Sell spreads is available on our fees page

What is the switching process?

Members can switch between our seven investment options at any time. You can do this by logging in and navigate to Investments from the drop down menu. 

Generally, investment switch requests submitted online before 4.00pm (Sydney time) on a Business Day will be processed using that day’s unit price.  If the online investment switch is submitted after 4pm (or on a day other than a Business Day) the following Business Day’s unit price will be used. An exception to this process is if a pending transaction (such as a contribution) has been received but is yet to be processed. In this case, the pending transaction will be processed first and the investment switch will be processed within 2 business days after it was submitted online and will receive the unit price for the day it was processed, not the day it was submitted. 

How can I rollover funds from my Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) into Australian Ethical Super?

First you need to make sure you have an account with us.  You can do this by joining online. It may take a couple of days for your account to be set up and for you to receive all your member and account details.  Australian Ethical must use SuperStream to roll over your super benefits. This means your SMSF will need an electronic service address (ESA) and Australian business number (ABN). You can get an ESA from an SMSF messaging provider or through your SMSF intermediary/administrator.

For more information, please refer to the ATO Self-managed super fund rollover page here.

Fees, unit prices and buy-sell spreads

What are your fees?

Australian Ethical offers competitive investment and administration fees. These may vary depending on the underlying composition of the assets within your chosen investment option/s.

To understand our fees better, visit our fee information page.

Why are my investment options unitised?

When you invest in any Australian Ethical Super investment option your money is placed in a pool of assets, along with every other member that has chosen that investment option.  When the investment options are valued, a price is determined for the interest (or units) in that option.

When you make a contribution, switch your investment option or change your mix of investment options, or roll out your funds, you are in effect buying and selling units.

Each investment option is divided into units and every unit you own in that investment pool represents your share of that investment option. 

The initial units allocated to you are determined by your account balance divided by the unit price for the investment option/s that you invest in. 

For example: If you invested $100,000 in the Balanced (accumulation) option on 31 December 2018, you would have been allocated with 100,000 units. 

This is based on a ‘Buy’ unit price of $1 per unit and calculated as $100,000 / $1.00 = 100,000 units.

See below FAQ for further information on ‘Buy’ and ‘Sell’ unit prices.  

What is a unit price?

A unit price represents the value of each unit in an investment option. The unit price for each investment option is calculated by dividing the value of the assets in the option (after allowing for fees, costs and taxes) by the number of units on issue.

As the value of these assets and liabilities can go up or down and is dependent on market valuation, the unit prices for the different investment options also can go up or down.

Transactions occur using the ‘Buy’ and ‘Sell’ unit prices. These are calculated by applying the Buy-Sell spread to the unit price (Net Asset Value). 

Additional investments, including all forms of contributions are processed using the ‘Buy’ unit price. When exiting an investment option, or the fund, the ‘Sell’ unit price is applied to your transaction.

What is a Buy-Sell spread?

A buy-sell spread represents the estimated transaction costs incurred when buying or selling underlying assets in relation to investment options. The spread is applied to make sure all transaction costs incurred in buying or selling assets are fairly allocated to those members who transact in an investment option.

Where can I find the daily unit price for each investment option?

We calculate and issue unit prices every NSW business day. A national business day is any day that is not a weekend or NSW public holiday. You can view and download daily unit prices here.

Investment options, returns and tax

What is an investment return?

A return is a loss or gain on your investment which is usually expressed as a percentage. Our investment option returns are visible through the daily unit prices and are reported on a monthly basis on our website. A dollar return for your account is also provided on your member portal in the account summary section of the dashboard. 

NOTE: Our reported performance does not include your account administration fee, or any insurance premiums paid through your account. 

Return of capital and the performance of your investment in the fund are not guaranteed. You should also remember that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. 

What is the relationship between risk and return?

Investment’s that generate higher returns also tend to have higher levels of risk (often referred to as volatility). 

Investments that carry less risk usually provide smaller, more stable returns but may not perform strong enough for you to save as much as you need for the future and typically doesn’t grow higher than the rate of inflation.

Different investments come with different levels of risk so it comes down to choosing the investments that align with your goals, stage of life and risk profile. 

We recommend speaking to a financial adviser to better understand which investment options are right for you at your different stages of life. 

More information about the risk and return characteristics of our investment options can be found in the Product Disclosure Statement and Additional Information Booklet

Do I have control over how I invest my money?

Yes. You can choose just one investment option or spread you super balance across a mix of our seven investment options. 

When you first join, your investment choice will be set to the Balanced option by default. To make an investment choice, you can log  into your account and choose investments from the drop down menu, or by completing the Change of investment option form.

What are asset classes?

An asset is something you invest in, such as property, shares, bonds or cash. A group of property investments form an asset class, and so do a group of shares. Assets usually fall into two main categories: defensive and growth.

Defensive assets are typically less risky and generally provide more stable returns over the short term but tend to produce lower returns over the long run. Cash and Fixed Interest are examples of defensive assets.

Growth assets are typically higher risk and provide more volatile returns in the short term but tend to produce higher returns over the long term. Shares and property are examples of growth assets.

When is my super taxed?

Tax rules can be complex, and they change frequently. Understanding how tax and super work can help you make the most of any tax advantages available to you and help you avoid costly mistakes.

Generally, the points at which your super could be taxed: 

  • When it goes into your Australian Ethical account (contributions)

  • If you are eligible, when your super is withdrawn under the age of 60 (super benefits).

This is a summary only and is subject to change.  

How much tax do I pay on my super?

All employer contributions, as well as any personal contributions for which a tax deduction is claimed, are usually taxed at a rate of 15%.

Personal contributions and spouse contributions are not usually taxed, as these contributions are made after you have already paid income tax. 

If you exceed the contribution limits set by the Government, then you may need to pay more tax on your contributions. 

How these tax rules affect your individual super situation is something you should discuss with a financial adviser or the ATO. For further information, visit our Additional information booklet.

Life events and super 

What happens if I die?

Australian Ethical will pay a death benefit in the event of your death. This benefit includes the balance of your super account and any insurance benefits you may have.  

There are a few documents which need to be completed by either your executor, a legal representative or potential beneficiary after your passing. Death Benefits are usually paid to either: 

  • your dependants - spouse (including a de facto spouse, children, anyone who is financially dependent on you, or anyone you have an interdependent relationship with)

  • your Legal representative (i.e. the executor of your estate).  

Can I nominate a beneficiary?

Yes, Australian Ethical Super provides you with three death beneficiary options for your account. Some important legal considerations are outlined below.

  • Binding death nominations - you have the choice to determine who should receive your death benefit as long as the people you nominate are classified as a dependant under superannuation law. You can  complete the Binding Death Nomination Form to nominate your beneficiary. Please note you need to update your binding nomination every 3 years for it to remain valid.

  • Non-binding death nominations – As this nomination is not binding, the Trustee has the discretion to pay your money to one or more of your dependants or your legal personal representative (i.e. the executor of your estate). You can make a preferred nomination from your online account from the ‘Beneficiaries’ section.

  • No death benefit nomination - your benefit will be paid at the discretion of the Trustee to one or more of your dependants and/or legal representative.

It's best to read the Product Disclosure Statement to understand everything you need to know about death benefit nominations. Regardless of which option you choose, the Trustee must ensure that your money is paid to your dependants or legal personal representative.

What happens to my super if I’ve worked temporarily in Australia?

If you worked and earned super while visiting Australia on a temporary visa, you may be eligible to withdraw your super funds through the Departing Australia Super Payment (DASP) program.

After leaving Australia, you can claim your super through the online Australian Taxation Office (ATO) DASP online application. If you have any questions about this process contact the ATO or our Helpline team. 

Main things you need to know: 

  • to claim, you must be either a non-resident or on an eligible temporary resident's visa

  • you can't make a claim if you're an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen

  • claims are made as cash lump sums and can’t be rolled into another overseas fund.

What happens if I’m really struggling and I need to access my super now?

In some circumstances, you may be able to access your super early if you experience the following events.

  • Incapacity - if you suffer permanent incapacity (also called Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD)).

  • Severe financial hardship - if you’ve received Commonwealth benefits for 26 continuous weeks but are still unable to meet immediate living expenses.

  • Compassionate grounds - to pay for medical treatment if you’re seriously ill.

  • Terminal medical condition - if you have a terminal illness or injury which is likely to result in death within 2 years, as certified by two registered medical practitioners (at least one must be a specialist).

For more information about these life events and what evidence you need to submit, you can call our Helpline team on 1800 021 227, 8:30 am to 5:30pm (AEST), Monday-Friday.