Pandemic update

13 March 2020

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An increasing number of members have contacted us, concerned about recent share market falls and future risks of the new coronavirus.

As the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to create international headlines, Vision Super is closely monitoring this situation as the number of reported cases grows globally. In response to this evolving issue, members of Vision Super’s Management Group are meeting regularly to discuss our approach to managing the impacts of the Coronavirus.

What is happening in the market?

Equity markets have become very volatile with initial substantial falls. This has been due to the corona virus but also due to a large fall in oil prices which has impacted energy companies negatively. This situation may change within a very short period. Markets are experiencing unusually large up days as well as down days. Currencies and commodity markets have also been affected. The virus itself continues to spread and is becoming more and more difficult to contain.

Your Super

Members in the default Balanced Growth option are in a well-diversified option with a mix of growth and defensive assets. This option has a long-term investment horizon. Over the 20 years to end February 2020 it had provided members with a return of 6.5% p.a. Over this period, we have had a number of years with negative returns including during the GFC. Options with exposure to growth assets may have noticed a fall in their account balances. We expect peak to trough falls of 20% or more once every three years on average. Nonetheless equities have been the strongest performing asset class over the long term. The fourth quarter of 2018 was the last such period of a 20% loss with equity markets recovering strongly subsequently. If you are concerned about your financial situation and want to review your investment strategy you may wish to seek investment advice.

To book an appointment with a Vision Super financial planner, complete the online form or call the Contact Centre on 1300 300 820 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm) to arrange an appointment. Advice on certain single superannuation issues like your investment option can usually be provided at no cost to you, over the phone.

Vision Super’s Investment approach – balanced growth option

Vision Super has reduced risk over the last few years as markets strengthened. We took a more defensive position after the onset of the crisis in Europe as the characteristics of the virus became clearer. However, we do retain exposure to equities alongside significant exposures to cash, bonds property and infrastructure. These asset classes are not directly impacted by share market performance. We note the crisis is evolving rapidly and we may change our allocations quite quickly. We note that within a relatively short timeframe, the pandemic will resolve itself one way or another and there will be a return to some form of normalcy.

What happens if I am still concerned?

If you are still worried here are a few steps to consider:

1.  Understand your options.  Have a look at our PDS and How we invest your money guide to find out more about your investment options.

2.  Find out where you are invested.  Log in online or look at your details on our app.

3.  Still need help with any questions during this period?  Please feel free to call the Member Services team on 1300 300 820 Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 5pm.

Face to face servicing?

Part of the advice to date from Victorian Health and Human Services Department has been to minimise, where possible, the number of face to face meetings/events. Given this backdrop, as a precautionary measure, Vision Super will be suspending all face to face meetings. This service offering has been at the heart of the support we provide you and your staff, so we regret having to take this action but think it is in the best interest of the community.

We will continue to be available on phone, website and email, and are also looking at modern technologies, video conference and live streaming to ensure we continue to support members from an education and servicing perspective.

The role of insurance

As the coronavirus continues to raise medical concerns, insurance can be an important protection for you and your loved ones. Members with death, total and permanent disability, or income protection cover through Vision Super should be comforted to know we do not have any exclusions that are relevant to coronavirus.

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