Our investment beliefs

Our Board of governance is guided by a set of investment beliefs when decisions are made about the investment portfolio on behalf of members and sponsors.

Grounding our work in real-world understandings

When we say investment beliefs, we mean the principles that guide all of our work. Overarching principles are great as guides when making decisions on our investments.  

The Board of Vision Super is committed to fostering healthy debate, a diversity of views and transparency within the context of these beliefs. We’ll explain these beliefs below.

All options

Belief 1       
We believe that diversification is an important source of risk reduction. Asset class diversification is our major source of diversification.

Belief 2      
We believe passive management (where available) is our default position for investing. Evidence is required to justify and engage in active management. The higher the cost of active management, the greater the level of conviction required.

Belief 3       
We believe maximising net returns is more important than fees in their own right. We are fee conscious and we aim to capture benefits from our scale to achieve fee reductions on behalf of our members over time. We seek to achieve “value for money” for our fees bearing in mind market comparatives.

Belief 4      
We believe that environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and sustainability considerations are important within the context of optimising net long-term risk-adjusted returns.

Belief 5      
We believe that managing money on behalf of other people requires us to have high standards of openness and transparency. We take this responsibility seriously and commit to being at the forefront of disclosure within our industry and to reviewing our internal practices regularly to ensure that they meet best practice standards.

Belief 6      
We believe that we can capture additional returns from accessing the illiquidity risk premium and being a patient investor.

Belief 7      
We believe that effective decision making is facilitated by appropriate delegation and reporting governance structures.

Belief 8       
We believe markets are often inefficient and, therefore, additional risk adjusted returns can be generated through dynamic asset allocation (DAA).

Belief 9      
We believe that complex strategies increase operational and investment risk and stronger conviction is required to justify such strategies.

Belief 10      
We believe an appropriate timeframe for investment decisions to pay off is three to five years.

Defined Benefit Plan

Belief 11       
We believe that the investment risk taken should be governed by both return for risk considerations and the long-term rate of return required to meet Plan liabilities.

 

MySuper options

Belief 11       
We believe that the investment risk taken should be governed by both return for risk considerations and the long-term rate of return required to meet Plan liabilities.

Frequently asked questions

Cash investment options are generally a combination of money in the bank and money invested for a short time in money market securities, such as bank term deposits and bank bills.

If you are risk averse or working to a short timeframe, then a Cash option that typically provides stable, low risk returns may be suitable for you. This type of investment option will protect the value of your superannuation, but the returns will often be low compared with other investment options.

The risk associated with cash investments is generally minimal, although the returns are also minimal. Cash can be a safe haven in times of economic uncertainty, and occasionally you may wish to preserve capital by allocating some of your super to cash.

We recommend that you obtain financial advice before making any decisions about investing in our Cash option.

To book an appointment with a Vision Super financial planner, either call us or complete our online appointment form:

Go to the form to book an appointment online >

Call our Contact Centre on 1300 300 820 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm).

Advice fees may apply, which will be discussed with you before any work is undertaken.

We don’t charge switching fees, so there is no impact on your super account balance from switching between investment options. However, if you have the right investment risk profile and your investments are matched up to your risk profile, you shouldn’t be needing to make switches regularly.

From time to time you should review your risk profile, maybe when you are first starting out in the workforce, are in the middle of your working life, a few years away from retirement and/or going into retirement. Otherwise the investments you have in superannuation should be a ‘set and forget’ strategy where you ride the ups and downs of the investments over a longer period.

You can switch investment options for some, or all, of your account balance, future contributions, or both. You can also nominate which investment option you would like your withdrawals to be made from.

You can switch between investment options by logging into our website, or the Vision Super app, or by sending us a completed Investment choice form. You can also call us, on 1300 300 820 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm).

Investment switches are processed based on the unit prices of the relevant investment options declared on the next business day after we receive your switching request, unless there is a delay with processing due to abnormal market conditions or system failure.

Frequent switching between investment options and trying to second-guess the market can be risky, particularly for high-risk investment options designed to be held in the long-term (6-12 years). You should switch only after a thorough review of your long-term investment strategy.

We recommend that you obtain financial advice before making any decisions about switching between investment options.

To book an appointment with a Vision Super financial planner, either call us or complete our online appointment form:

Go to the form to book an appointment online >

Call our Contact Centre on 1300 300 820 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm).

Advice fees may apply, which will be discussed with you before any work is undertaken.

Growth assets are higher risk but offer a higher potential return compared to defensive assets. They aim to grow the capital that’s invested and provide some income. Defensive assets are lower-risk investments which aim to protect the capital invested while providing an income.

The classification of assets into either growth or defensive has the advantage of simplicity, but it also has limitations when used as an indicator of risk. The classification does not capture diversification, which can have a larger impact on reducing the overall portfolio risk when assets are combined.

Another issue is that different people may have different classifications for the same asset type because there are no regulations governing this area and no clear guidance by the regulators on a standardised growth/defensive split. Classifications of growth or defensive assets may also change over time depending on market conditions and pricing.

We believe that there needs to be greater consistency and transparency in how super funds arrive at their growth/defensive mixes. But in the absence of regulations, there are going to be differences in practice and opinion. To avoid any potential misunderstandings, Vision Super does not publish the growth/defensive split of our investment options.

Compound interest is the interest that is earned on money that was previously earned as interest.

For example, if you have an investment of $100 that pays interest of 5% every year, then in the first year you will be paid interest of $5 over the year (5% of $100).

What happens in the next year? That’s where compounding comes in. You will not only earn interest on your initial $100 deposit, you will also earn interest on the $5 interest that you earned in the first year.

That means you will earn $5.25 in the second next year because your account balance is now $105, even though you didn’t make any deposits. This may not seem like much of an increase, but the effects of compounding becomes  more dramatic over long periods of time. After 30 years, your initial $100 investment would be worth $432.19, and that year you would be paid $21.61 in interest.

Each year your interest earnings will accelerate even more due to compound interest. This cycle leads to interest and account balances going up at an increasing rate, which is sometimes known as exponential growth.

Of course, if you’re borrowing money, compounding works against you. You owe interest on the money you have borrowed, and so your loan balance can then increase over time, even if you don’t borrow any more money.

We take our responsibility as a long-term investor very seriously. We believe that long-term prosperity of the economy and the well-being of our members depends on a healthy environment. It follows then that good governance within our own day-to-day operations, as well as within the companies we invest in, has an effect on the health of our environment, and therefore the health of us all.

We also believe that environmental, social and governance issues and sustainability considerations are important within the context of optimising (net risk-adjusted) returns for our members.

Vision Super considers ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance criteria) risks to be material risks that have the potential to affect the interests of our members. Climate change is one of the primary risks we take into account in our investment decision-making. We’re dedicated to the management of the risks, and taking advantage of the opportunities associated with climate change. The carbon intensity of our portfolio is considerably lower than that of the market as a result.

We require our investment managers to take the principles of long-term ESG investing into account and to integrate sustainability research into the portfolios that they manage. In the course of conducting their research on companies to invest in, our investment managers look at how climate risks may affect a business’s long-term value. Their investment criteria tend to lead them to high growth companies that typically operate in less carbon-intensive industries. Our active fund managers are also required to factor in a transition in line with the Paris goals of keeping climate change to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, and we regularly engage with them on how climate risks are factored into the assessment of particular portfolio positions.

Our passive indexed Australian and International equities portfolios are managed against a low carbon benchmark. The term “passive indexed” means that these portfolios have been constructed to closely mimic the performance of a market index. When we say they are “managed against a low carbon benchmark”, it means that the amount that is invested in each company will vary depending on their relative carbon emissions. As a result these portfolios invest less in companies with high carbon emissions and more in companies with low carbon emissions, and this results in these portfolios having less carbon emissions than a similarly sized pure index portfolio would emit.

Vision Super will not invest at all in some products that we consider particularly damaging and high-risk. Currently, we don’t invest in companies that derive material revenue from the manufacture or production of tobacco, controversial weapons such as land mines, cluster bombs and nuclear weapons, and the mining of thermal coal and tar sands.

We are very active in exercising our shareholder votes. We believe that engagement, rather than divestment, is the most effective strategy to improve the way companies operate, reduce environmental impact and increase transparency. By applying the voting power that comes with owning listed equities, we can encourage companies to do better.

Vision Super is a signatory and member of a range of organisations that promote responsible investing in the superannuation industry, including the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). We are also a signatory to the Global Investor Letter to governments on Climate Action, the Paris Pledge for Action (Paris Climate Change Agreement), the Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) and a support investor of the Climate Action 100+ initiative.

For more information about our sustainable investment activities visit:

Our page detailing our approach to Sustainability >

Our page detailing how we engage in Active Ownership >

In our PDS we disclose “Investment fees and costs” and “Transaction costs” that include investment expenses relating to the investment management of Vision Super’s assets.

Investment fees and costs include investment expenses relating to the investment management of Vision Super’s assets, such as base and (in very few cases) performance-related fees paid to investment managers and advisers, management fees charged in investment vehicles, asset consulting fees, bank fees, custodian fees and internal Vision Super costs related to the management of the Fund’s assets.

Transaction costs include explicit transaction costs incurred by investment managers such as brokerage, settlement costs and stamp duty, as well as buy sell spreads charged by our investment managers or in underlying investment vehicles.

Investment and transaction fees and costs are not deducted directly from your account. Investment and transaction fees and costs are indirect fees that are deducted from the investment option unit prices and are therefore reflected in the returns allocated to your account through changes in the unit prices.

For more detail, read about the current investment fees for each option here >

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