The SelectingSuper workplace default option index has continued its climb back into positive territory posting a return of 1.90% for the 12 months to end March 2012.
This is up slightly from 0.26% at end February, -0.4% at end January and 1.7% at end December, revealed research conducted by Rainmaker, SelectingSuper's research partner.
Three year returns are much higher still at 8.61% pa while 10 year returns are 5.25% pa. Five year returns are, however, barely positive at just 0.72% pa.
These 12 month rolling returns are the best they've been in seven months and three year returns are the best they've been in almost two years.
Despite the volatility of short term returns, long term 10 year returns have been stable on about 5% pa, only dipping slightly below this threshold on 7 monthly occasions in the past 34 months.
Not-for-profit funds achieved median 12 month returns of 1.8% and corporate master trusts -0.1%, resulting in a segment gap of 1.9 percentage points, albeit this gap is down from 2.3 percentage points last month. Over 5 years the segment gap is 2.1 percentage points.
The poor one year returns are explained by Australian shares losing 6% over the 12 months to end March 2012. In contrast, domestic fixed interest and direct property both earned 10% and international fixed interest earned 11%.
The top five Workplace Super funds (by default options) over the 12 months were ESSSuper and BUS(Q) both with 5.1%, QSuper with 4.3%, Tripe-S with 4.2% and CBA Officers with 4.0%.
The top five Personal super funds (by balanced options) over the 12 months were the soon to merge Vision Super with 5.3% and equip super with 4.1%, Perpetual Wealth Focus with 3.9%, AGEST (soon to merge with Australian Super) with 3.2% and CARE Super and Australian Super both with 2.9%.