Commonwealth public servants and military personnel scored the best returns on their retirement savings in the past financial year than any other group of Australian workers, the latest official figures confirm.
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Public sector funds were the only ones of the hundreds operating in the market to top the 12 per cent return mark in 2014-2015, according to the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority.
The three top performing funds, MilitarySuper, the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme, and the Public Sector Superannuation Scheme Accumulation, returned 12.3 per cent, 12.1 per cent and 12 per cent to its members in 2014-2015.
The new figures, coupled with the public service's 15.4 per cent employer super contributions, are a rare piece of good news on the income front for Commonwealth public servants, many of whom are still embroiled in a lengthy pay dispute with the Coalition government.
Another public sector super fund, the CSS, also made the top 10 in the APRA charts, returning 11.4 per cent for its members in 2014-2015.
But both the PSS and the CSS have been closed to new members since 1995 and 2005 respectively and MilitarySuper will shut up shop in July to be replaced by a new retirement scheme for the nation's military.
The funds, which are run by the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, hire external fund managers to make investment decisions on a fee-for-service basis within a set of risk directives.
The corporation's chairwoman Patricia Cross noted in her latest annual report that although the funds had easily exceeded their stated goals for returns for members, there was no particular secret to their success.
"Each default investment option for CSS, PSS, MilitarySuper and PSSap far exceeded its long-term return objective of the CPI plus 3.5 per cent, posting double digit returns to 30 June 2015," Ms Cross wrote.
"Strong listed share market returns were a feature of global investment markets during the year.
"Returns were underpinned by modest levels of global economic growth, an absence of inflationary pressures and ongoing monetary policy stimulus provided by the central banks of the major developed economies."
Ms Cross promised fund members that the funds under CSC management would not become pre-occupied with short term gains at the expense of longer term investment goals.
"While the one-year, peer-relative returns are very gratifying, the CSC Board focuses more on the longer-term objectives, which is appropriate for a superannuation fund where long term wealth creation is the key objective," she wrote.
"Investment return objectives continue to be achieved within board approved risk limits.
"The risk limit for our default options is to experience negative returns, ie lose value, in no more than three to four years out of any 20 year period.
"Our focus on down-side protection, while seeking to capture most, but not all, returns in strong investment markets, is the best way to help members to save an adequate pool of super savings for their future income needs."