The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to have a huge impact on the way we live and work over 2020/21 – and that impact will continue to be felt for some time to come.
The last year also saw some significant changes to the global political landscape, with Joe Biden winning the US Presidential election, and the Democrats gaining control of both houses of Congress – despite an attempted coup by Trump supporters. The trade war with China continued to escalate, with Australia being drawn into the dispute. The post-Brexit transition period expired, and the UK is no longer inside the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. Domestic tensions flared in the US, Israel, Belarus, Georgia, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others. Racial politics and climate change continued to be hot issues.
Closer to home, there is no doubt that it has been a difficult 12 months for many people: the uncertainty and isolation of lockdowns, the difficulties for councils and council workers, businesses – particularly small businesses – and growing unemployment in many sectors.
Despite the tough environment, I am very pleased to report that Vision Super has once again achieved very strong returns for our members. The default Balanced growth investment option where most members (including me) are invested, achieved a return of 19.05% for the financial year ending in June 2021. This is one of its highest ever annual returns, underpinned by strong increases in the prices of riskier assets such as shares. We increased exposure to shares toward the end of 2020 and in early 2021, as we believed the market would continue to go up. Shares then experienced very strong gains, which boosted returns for most of Vison Super’s options – a combination of strong investment markets and smart decision-making.
According to Superratings Vision’s Balanced growth default fund return to the end of June 2021 was ranked 12th in the survey of the top 50 default funds (survey of SR50 MySuper Index options). While the performance over the year is important, we tend to have a medium-term focus, because that’s what counts for our members. In the same Superratings survey, our three year return was ranked 5th, over five years 3rd, over seven years 8th, and 8th again over ten years. Over the last ten years the Balanced Growth option achieved an average annual return of 9.0% . I am extremely pleased with this result, as it represents an excellent outcome for our members.
Along with the returns generated for our members, I am very proud of the way that our Vision Super staff have quickly adapted to working from home on several occasions – particularly the way we’ve been able to maintain our very high member and employer service standards from home. It reflects staff being flexible and remaining member and employer focused.
At the time of writing, we are still living with the uncertainties associated with COVID-19. Sydney is in lockdown and the Vision Super team is currently working from home and will continue to do so until it’s safe to return to the office. When we are home, we’re still available when you need us – the Contact Centre is available during normal business hours, both on the phone and by email. If you need more in-depth help with your super or financial planning, our planners can help you via phone or video conferencing.
While the outlook is far from clear, we hope that vaccinations will eventually allow the world to return a more “normal” state, where concern about the virus is no longer front of mind. I wish you and your loved ones all the best for the new financial year.
Stephen Rowe CEO
Investors should be aware that returns may go up and down, so past returns are not a guarantee of future performance.