Choose between the Defined Benefit Division and Accumulation 2


When first joining UniSuper, you’ll have two years to make an important choice between two of our products.

The Defined Benefit Division (DBD) is our default option for members who receive 14% or 17% employer contributions.

The DBD is based on a formula which reflects your age, years of service, how much you’ve contributed and your salary over the last five years before you retire. This means your retirement outcome is more certain, regardless of what the returns are during a share market boom or bust.

If you don’t think the DBD is for you, you’ll have two years from the date you joined the DBD to make the decision to move to Accumulation 2 (if you’re eligible).


What's the difference?

The way your super grows


  • Most of your super is calculated using a formula that takes into account:
    • how much money you contribute
    • your salary
    • your age
    • how long you’ve worked in the higher education and research sector. 
  • You can’t choose how you invest defined benefit super.
    • But you’ll also have an accumulation component, which you can invest how you like.

Learn more about the DBD

Accumulation 2

  • Your super grows through contributions and is adjusted by investment returns (positive or negative) less fees and taxes – similar to a bank account. 
  • You can choose the way your entire account balance is invested.

Learn more about Accumulation 2

Insurance and inbuilt benefits


  • You automatically receive a form of insurance called ‘inbuilt benefits’. They provide a benefit to you or your family if you become disabled, terminally ill, temporarily incapacitated or you die.
  • This cover is:
    • calculated using a formula
    • provided by UniSuper (not an external insurer)
    • compulsory—you can’t opt out of it.
  • If eligible, you’ll also receive one default unit of death and total and permanent disablement (TPD) cover
  • You can also apply for additional insurance cover for TPD and death through our external insurer. (Income protection cover isn’t available to DBD members)

Accumulation 2

  • Transitioned insurance cover for death, TPD, terminal medical condition and income protection is automatically provided (if you’re eligible) by our external insurer (TAL).
  • You can change or cancel your cover or apply for further cover.
  • The cost of your cover is generally based on your age and the amount of cover you’ve chosen. 

Making your decision

Your personal circumstances will guide whether accumulation or defined benefit-style super is better for you.

Before you choose, ask yourself:

  • How long do I expect to be employed in the higher education and research sector?
  • How might things like working full time or part time—or a career change or break—affect the formula that determines my DBD benefit at retirement?
  • How much control do I want over how my super’s invested?
  • Do I prefer external insurance cover (which can be tailored), inbuilt benefits (automatically provided by UniSuper), or a combination of both?

How do make my choice?

If you want to transfer to an accumulation 2 account 

Complete the Transferring from the Defined Benefit Division to Accumulation 2 form (PDF, 148KB).

If you want to stay in the DBD

You don’t have to do a thing.

Things to know

  • If you don't make a choice within two years of joining, you’ll stay in the DBD. 
  • You won’t be able to change your mind down the track.
  • Before your two years is up, we’ll remind you that you can choose to move from the DBD to Accumulation 2.

Need more information?

We’re here to help 

If you have any questions, call us on 1800 331 685 or email us.