The recent spike in market volatility has created a challenging environment for our members, investors and the wider superannuation industry. Many concerned members are calling us with questions. However, this is creating extended waiting times.

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To help you get the information you need, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions from our members at this time.  

There are a few ways that you can access your current account balance. The easiest ways are through our Mobile app or Online Portal here.

If you have not registered for online access please read the section below, ‘How do I get access to my account online?’.

For instructions on how to download our mobile app, please visit our website: Member app

We publish performance for all investment options monthly on our public website.

The monthly performance is calculated from our daily unit prices.

Registering for access to your super account is simple and only takes a few minutes to set up. Plus, it’s the quickest way to get up-to-date information about your super. You can check your balance, change your investment mix (i.e. switch), make personal contributions and much more.

  1. Register here for your online account. You’ll need to enter your member number and personal details.
  2. Verify your contact details.
  3. Create a new password.
  4. You’ll then be directed to your account online.

Accessing your account online makes managing your money easier.  Just like banking, shopping and other services, managing your super online is the quick and easy way to get things done. 

You are able to reset your password on our website, available here: Forgotten Password.

You will need to follow the following steps as prompted:

  1. Validate your account using your member number
  2. Verify your identity
  3. Create new password

If you are still having issues with your password, please contact your financial planner or our service centre. 

First State Super is one of the largest super funds in the country, with over $90 billion invested in a diversified range of asset classes, including Australian and overseas equities, fixed income and credit securities, cash, and real assets such as property, infrastructure assets and private equity.  

We were in a strong liquidity position going into this market event, with approximately 75% of the Fund’s total assets being liquid.  This means we have plenty of funds available to meet both investment funding requirements, as well as to meet cash flows should members choose to switch investments or withdraw.

Fortunately, our position means our stability to continue to operate as a Fund is not in doubt, and as such we can continue to effectively manage your superannuation portfolio.

Our focus is on investing in diversified mix of good quality assets that can grow your savings over time. It’s important for you (a super member) and us (a super fund) to remember our long-term goals and objectives during times of market volatility.

We have a strong and skilled investment team of over 70 people who are closely monitoring the markets and looking for any investment opportunities that may arise, so we can improve returns or reduce risk where appropriate to do so.

Our Member’s First philosophy is at the forefront of all of our investment decisions, including in times of market volatility. As mentioned, it is important for the Fund to manage its long-term goals and objectives and this is key to our investment strategy. 

We are unable to confirm how much you may have lost as this is based on your individual circumstances, such as which options you are invested in, if you have recently switched, etc.

If you register for our mobile app or online access you will be able to see your balance each day. You will also be able to see your monthly balances over time.

As market volatility continues, we will continue to communicate with our members to provide as much insight into performance and markets as possible. We will also publish our performance as at the end of each month, with appropriate investment commentary to help you understand the performance for the period.

Keep up to date with our COVID-19 news feed.

No one has a crystal ball and you won’t know whether your decision will be the right decision until well into the future – through the benefit of hindsight. During times of heightened volatility, it’s even more important to focus on your long-term strategy and think carefully before making any significant changes.

Switching to a more conservative option, such as cash, after a market fall can lock in losses and may mean you miss out on any rebound that occurs. For example, the market falls that resulted from the October 1987 crash, the bursting of the tech bubble in 2001, the September 11 terrorist attacks and even the 2008 global financial crisis, were all followed by strong bounces back within a relatively short timeframe.

Short-term market volatility typically has shown historically to have little overall impact on long-term returns. Markets are also inherently unpredictable and trying to time them means you must get two important decisions right: when to get out and when to get back in. There is a risk of having to pay a higher price to get back into the market, as well as missing out on the growth from any market recovery.

Speak with a financial planner if you are unsure which option is right for you. 

The important thing is to choose an option that is appropriate for your age, investment timeframe, risk tolerance and any investments you have outside of super. History has shown that having a long-term plan and sticking to it gives you the greatest chance of reaching your retirement goals and that those who do this ultimately end up better off than those who change investment options.

Speak with a financial planner if you are unsure which option is  right for you.

It can be tempting to consider switching investments during times of market volatility. Headlines can be distracting, and at times unsettling. You might wonder whether you should take action, or simply sit tight, which might feel counterintuitive. But switching to cash when markets are down comes with the risk of locking in losses. While you remain invested, the impact of market moves are paper losses that can be recouped if markets rebound. Conversely, switching to cash means selling out of stocks and crystallising the market falls that have already occurred. Timing markets is notoriously difficult, and history shows that most investors don’t buy back in time to benefit from any rebound in markets.

It is also important to remember that super is a long-term investment. Over long horizons cash typically does not keep pace with the cost of living (known as inflation). This means that for every $10 you save, you’ll be able to buy less with it in the future than you can now. This is a big issue because the primary aim of saving for your retirement is to be able to maintain your lifestyle once you retire.  While cash experiences less short-term risk (volatility), in the context of superannuation savings, it carries a high level of “long-term risk”.

Taking a long-term view can also help you benefit from the power of compounding. That’s the snowball effect that happens when you receive returns on your earnings, as well as on your original investments. It’s important to remember that while the stock market might jump around or enter a prolonged downturn, history has shown that the markets grow over the long-term and eventually surpass their previous highs.

Read our market update about the risks of switching during times of volatility.

Market volatility is expected to remain a prominent feature of the next few weeks and months of 2020 due to the coronavirus, its potential impact on economies and accompanying shifts in investor sentiment.

Markets are negatively affected by uncertainty and the current uncertainty due to the coronavirus is amplifying the issue, as people and investors are unsure what will happen and how governments or business will react.

While headlines can be distracting, and at times unsettling, it is important to remember that super is a long-term investment for you and our members. We manage our investments to take account of short-term risks, but also by having an over-arching and longer-term risk adjusted strategy that aims to maximise your long-term savings. 

You can change how your account is invested at any time. You can do this by making an ‘investment switch’. 

When you submit an investment switch request, we apply the unit price for the day your request is received, as long it’s before 4 pm (AEST/AEDT) on a business day.

You can switch your investments online if you are registered for online access. From the ‘My Account’, Investments Menu, select Investment switch.

You can also switch your investments on our mobile app if you are registered for online access.

Handy hints for online investment switches:

  • You can change both how your current balance and any future contributions are invested, OR change only how future contributions will be invested (Note: for income stream accounts only your current balance can be changed).
  • The new percentage allocations you enter must total 100%.
  • You will be able to view your previous investment switches under Additional Information, select Transactions.

To see how to register for online access, please see the section above, ‘How do I get access to my account online?’

Alternatively, you can complete and return an Investment choice (superannuation) form. This form is available on our website: Switch investment options.

The Member Booklet Supplement: Investments, and Member Booklets Transition to Retirement Income Stream and Retirement Income Stream have important information about your investment options and you should read this before making a decision. These are available on our website: Member Booklets.

While it can take up to two business days to calculate the unit price we apply to an account balance switch, you’re not exposed to market movements during this time.

The two business days are required to calculate the value of all the assets we invest in and the number of units on issue, which is affected by contributions and withdrawals. We need these valuations before we can accurately calculate the unit price for any of our investment options.

There is no charge for switching your account balance.

We recommend seeking professional financial advice to help you understand the impacts of switching your Investment/s.

We have resources available on our website to help you understand superannuation and in particular how to access, monitor and make changes to your account with us. Please see our Fact Sheets which are available on the website here