Cash (Super)

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Investment option type Sector
Member suitability Suits members who want to invest in a specific asset class and are less comfortable with large fluctuations in the value of their investments.
Performance objective* To achieve the RBA cash rate (before taxes and investment expenses, before deducting account-based fees) over the suggested time frame.
Investment strategy To invest in a diversified portfolio of cash and money-market securities, including (but not limited to) at-call and term bank deposits, bank bills, negotiable certificates of deposit, notice accounts and other short-term fixed income securities out to a maximum maturity of around one year.
Suggested investment time frame# Minimum of one year
Expected frequency of negative annual return Less than 0.5 years in 20 years.
Summary risk level Very low
Option size^ $3.8 billion (as at 31 August 2020)
Total investment fees and costs and transaction costs (%) 0.12

* Performance objectives are not promises or predictions of any particular rate of return.
# Depending on circumstances, this investment option may also be suitable for a suggested timeframe of less than one year.
^ Size of both accumulation and pension assets.

Compare our cash rates with retail banks’ cash rates

If you’re invested in our Cash investment option or thinking about investing, you’ll notice our rates are different to those offered by retail banks. Before we compare them, it’s important to understand what differences exist and why.

UniSuper's cash option rates vs. quoted bank cash rates
UniSuper Bank 
Rates for periods less than 1 year are not annualised Rates are annualised 
Rates are after tax Rates are before tax
Rates are based on actual returns earned over the stated period in the past Rates are forward looking 

Compare our actual crediting rates and quoted bank rates

We don’t annualise our cash rates for periods less than one year. So, to compare our rates with bank rates, we need to annualise our rates first. An approximate method is:

  • UniSuper's cash rate for the financial year to date ÷ by the number of months in which the return was earned × 12 months = annualised rate

So, if the quarterly cash return is 1.2%, the comparative approximate annualised return would be:

  • 1.2 ÷ 3 × 12 = 4.80%

How you’re taxed

Bank rates are before tax has been deducted. What is earned is consequently taxed at the individual’s marginal tax rate of, say, 30%. This means if you deposit $1000 at a 5% rate with a bank, you’ll be taxed $15 out of the $50 earned over a year.

With our cash rates, on the other hand, we’ve already deducted taxes and fees. This means what you earn is what you get.

We tax investment earnings on our Accumulation Cash option at 15%. However, we don’t tax earnings on our Flexi Pension as they’re tax free.

To fairly compare bank rates and our rates, we have to reapply the 15% tax component from our rates. So, taking our annualised return of 4.8% after tax and dividing it by 0.85 (1-0.15=0.85) produces a comparable before-tax return of:

  • 4.80 ÷ 0.85 = 5.65%

The difference between prospective and actual earned returns

Our rates reflect what you actually earn in a previous period. Bank rates, in comparison, relate to a period in the future. This means it’s hard to compare the two at any point in time. We can only do this accurately if we do it retrospectively based on our cash rate for a period and looking back at the rate the bank was paying over the same period. However, when interest rates go up, our rates will appear lower because rates were lower in the previous 12 months. Conversely, when rates go down, our rates will appear higher because rates were higher in the previous 12 months.


Option Performance (% p.a.)1

Vs Peers

As of 30 Sep 2020
Cash Option SuperRatings Median Outperformance
1 Month 0.00 0.02 -0.02
3 Months 0.03 0.08 -0.05
FYTD 0.03 0.08 -0.05
1 Year 0.67 0.69 -0.02
3 Years 1.37 1.32 0.05
5 Years 1.58 1.47 0.11
7 Years 1.77 1.69 0.08
10 Years 2.38 2.29 0.09

Periods less than a year are not annualised

Option Performance ($)2

Strategic asset allocation (%)3

Last updated on 30 June 2012

Strategic asset allocation (%)3

Last updated on 30 June 2012

Major Holdings4

By value (descending order) as at 31 August 20205


National Australia Bank - Call Accounts
Commonwealth Bank of Australia - Notice Accounts
National Australia Bank - Term Deposits
Australian Government - Treasury Notes
Westpac Banking Corp - Call Accounts
Commonwealth Bank of Australia - Term Deposits
Westpac Banking Corp - Term Deposits
Commonwealth Bank of Australia - Call Accounts

1 Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. Option returns are calculated net of investment expenses and Fund taxes but are gross of account-based fees. Due to rounding, excess return may not equate to the difference between option return and median return. The SuperRatings data is based on the SuperRatings survey for the relevant period and does not take into account any subsequent revisions or corrections made by SuperRatings.

2 Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. This graph shows the growth of $10,000 invested in this option over the period illustrated net of investment expenses and fund taxes but gross of account-based fees. No adjustments have been made to reflect the impact of inflation.
Note that the graph uses interim daily crediting rates and does not reflect the final crediting rates which are used to calculate option performance in the table above.

3 The strategic asset allocation may change and may be altered by the trustee from time to time to suit prevailing market circumstances. Actual allocation will deviate from their targets, but are monitored so they are kept within a range approved by the Trustee.

4 These holdings may change from time to time. The above holdings are the outcome of various strategies applied by UniSuper and by a range of investment managers taking into account a variety of considerations, many of which are specific to UniSuper and superannuation funds in general. The above lists are published for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation or endorsement of any of the companies listed, for inclusion in your personal portfolio. Before selecting companies to invest in personally, you should seek professional financial advice that takes into account your personal circumstances and investment objectives. Value includes direct holdings only and does not include exposures from indirect holdings.

5 Value includes direct holdings only and does not include exposures from indirect holdings.

This information is of a general nature only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should read the product disclosure statement and booklets relevant to your membership category, consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your personal circumstances and consider consulting a licensed financial adviser before making an investment decision based on information contained in this document.

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* Past performance is not an indicator of future performance. This website is provided by UniSuper Management Pty Ltd, ABN 91 006 961 799 AFS Licence No. 235907 (USM). Any advice contained on this website has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before you act on any advice that appears on this website please consider whether it is appropriate to your personal circumstances. You should also read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement which is available on our website at or you can obtain a copy by calling UniSuper on 1800 331 685. UniSuper Advice is a financial planning service generally available to UniSuper members, former members and their families through USM which is licensed to provide financial advice services and deal in financial products. For further information about UniSuper Advice, please see, access the Financial Services Guide and, for any further enquiries, contact us on 1800 331 685. Copyright 2019 USM. All rights reserved. Trustee: UniSuper Limited (ABN 54 006 027 121, AFS Licence No.492806). Fund: UniSuper (ABN 91 385 943 850). Administrator: USM.