Sunday, October 21, 2007

Choosing a Superannuation Asset Allocation

I checked out the "product disclosure statement" a.k.a. prospectus for Snork Maiden's superannuation fund a.k.a retirement account. One interesting point is that under the "superannuation choice legislation" you can opt out of the employer sponsored fund for a private provider but then instead of contributing 15.4% of pay (North Americans with employer "matches" will be envious of this number) the employer may only pay the legally required minimum of 9%. The employee can contribute between 2% and 10%. I am supposing the default is 2% - I will find out when I get to see a pay stub. We will stick with 2% for the moment. 17.4% is a very high rate of contribution as it is. Though when I worked in Australia before our required total employer-employee contribution was 21%!

On asset allocation I am thinking to allocate 90% to the default Trustee Choice and 10% to the "Sustainable Option". The sustainable option is managed by AMP and invests in Australian Shares selected according to various ethical and environmental considerations, both positive and negative. The Trustee Choice is allocated:

Australian Shares: 30%
International Shares(hedged) 22%
Long/Short Equities: 5%
Property: 15%
Cash: 2%
Bonds/Fixed Interest: 16%
Market Neutral Strategies: 10%

This is fairly typical of current endowment or pension fund allocations - 52% allocated to equities, and about 15% to each of hedge funds, bonds, and real estate. For those concerned about management fees they are 0.77% on the Trustee Choice plus an average 0.05% in performance fees and 0.51% for the Sustainable Option. No, there are no index fund options, but I expect a chunk of the Australian and International Share exposures are index tracking.

There is an "Aggressive Mix" that cuts out the bonds, slightly reduces the hedge funds, and increases straight equity exposure to 70%, but I prefer to go for more diversification.

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