29 Jul 2008

Super funds record biggest annual loss

7:29 pm on 29 July 2008

Superannuation funds in Australia have recorded their biggest annual losses since superannuation was made compulsory 16 years ago.

Superannuation research group SuperRatings says the median super fund lost 6.4% for the year to the end of June.

The ABC reports some super funds lost as much as 16%.

The Courier Mail newspaper says superannuation funds recorded $A60 billion in losses in 12 months because of tumbling share prices.

The Australian newspaper says tens of thousands of people could be forced to delay their retirement.

SuperRatings managing director Jeff Bresnahan acknowledges it is bad news for people soon to retire, but it was preceded by four strong years of double-digit returns.

"Balanced funds have a negative return about once every six years, so if you put it into perspective, the last five years has averaged out at about 1% per annum positive return," he said.

"In perspective, it's not such a bad result. The problem is right now we've got extreme volatility in markets and no one really knows which way it's going to move next."