The monthly returns for balanced options over the year.

The monthly returns for balanced options over the year. Photo: SuperRatings

Australian superannuation funds are set for median growth of more than 10 per cent this year, a return to pre-global financial crisis levels and on the back of the global sharemarket revival.

The findings came as the Australian Bureau of Statistics said super fund assets rose by $56.1 billion to almost $1.4 trillion in the September quarter, as cash holdings reached a record high of 15.9 per cent of financial assets.

The major super funds were up 0.5 per cent in November, bringing this year’s return to 10 per cent, with this month set to add another 1 per cent, industry analyst SuperRatings said.

‘‘Even with continued uncertainty over the US fiscal cliff talks and the future of the European Union, together with a possible Chinese slowdown, funds have managed to deliver double digit returns - definitely a welcome bonus in Christmas stockings,’’ Jeff Bresnahan of SuperRatings said.

Since the lows of February 2009, funds have rebounded by 35.6 per cent and have now exceeded the October 2007 high, SuperRatings said, adding that the median balanced option outperformed the median cash option by almost 18 per cent.

LGsuper Accum headed up the top 10 balanced investment options over the past five years with 3.5 per cent, according to the research. Commonwealth Bank Group Super - Mix 70 was second with 2.9 per cent and REST - Core Strategy was third with 2.7 per cent.

Super fund researcher Chant West also announced similar figures today, reporting that the median growth fund was up 11.8 per cent from the start of the year to December 18, the third positive year in the last four.

CommSec chief economist Savanth Sebastian said Australian super funds were holding almost double the ‘‘normal’’ amount in cash and bank assets, a reflection that equity investments were less than the cash inflows recorded by fund managers.

‘‘The risk for fund managers is being caught with too much money on the sidelines while equity markets track higher,’’ he said in a research note.

‘‘As term deposit rates fall and the global economy strengthens, pension funds will need to allocate a larger proportion of inflows to growth assets.’’