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  • Writer's pictureMark Monfort

Heating things up - 2020 update to the APRA MySuper Heatmaps

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Original article published on LinkedIn on December 21, 2020

Yesterday, I had a look at the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority's (APRA) site for the new MySuper Product Heatmaps. This contained the data that I used this time last year to create one of my first public interactive visualisations in Power BI (see below).

This time they've updated it again but it wasn't searchable in the Statistics area on APRA but was available via direct Google search so I was certainly looking in the wrong areas. No matter, I was able to update the annual fund level statistics application I also built around the same time but now it's time to update the MySuper app as well.

Updates and the new app

This time I've given the app a little facelift in terms of design and also added a new dimension which was not available last year... time. So users can now filter the app to see how performance ranged from 2019 to 2020. I have also added the different fund types/categories against each fund provider so you can look at how Industry or Retail super funds performed in terms of these MySuper returns. I have also added the ability to review performance by different strategies - Lifecycle or Single Strategy. Last year, the way the data was saved, returns were only recorded against Single Strategies so there was no point in showcasing this. This year they've filled it out for 2020 and it was easy enough to backfill for 2019.

To navigate the app there are main menu options on the left side of the page and sub-menus within each page just above each chart.

There is also a definitions page at the end of the app which takes definitions that APRA provided but you can also go back to their MySuper product page to see this in more detail.

Anyway, if you want to try all of this out, check out the app here: LINK

Here are some insights we can see from the data so far:

Returns in 2020 undperformed 2019

We saw this for the Annual Fund Level Statistics (see this article: APRA Fund Level Statistics 2020 Update). We saw overall returns in 2020 as -0.2% on average across all super funds versus 6% last year. For MySuper products in 2020, looking at Net Investment Returns (NIR) across the last 3 years, the average was 5.1% whereas the same measure in 2019 was 8.2%. This was also across less funds as there were only 71 this year compared to 82 last year.

Across the fund types, they all had fairly similar 3-year performance but Corporate was the top rated at 5.3% across 9 funds (see below).

2. Riskier asset allocations still outperform lower risk ones in 2020

Last year, we saw that asset allocations to more Strategic Growth type assets (e.g. riskier) led to higher levels of returns. It is no different in 2020 but the outperformance divergence is less intense.

We can use a filter slider in the app to adjust the strategic growth allocation to between 0% to 49% and see that average 3-year NIR was 4.0% and for a higher allocation of 50% to 100% the average 3-year NIR was 5.3%.

Here is the 0% to 49% strategic asset allocation

and the 50% to 100% strategic asset allocation

In 2019, the same 2 measures saw a wider level of 5.3% to 9.1% respectively, a nearly 4% divergence.

3. Single Strategies outperformed Lifecycle strategies

Single strategy MySuper funds had an average NIR of 5.3% whilst lifecycle strategies returned 5.0%. There is not much of a difference here but the difference is bigger if you're in a Retail super fund which saw its single strategy type return 5.6% versus lifecycle of 5.0%

Below we can see the visual output of single strategy returns

and lifecycle strategy returns

4. The more you put into MySuper the more you get

APRA shares a data field called Proportion of total assets in MySuper. Looking at this measure we can see whether or not a higher allocation of assets to MySuper produced higher returns or not.

Funds which had a lower average proportion of assets to MySuper (0% to 49%) returned a 3-year return average of 5.0% in 2020 whereas funds with higher proportion (50% to 100%) returned 5.5%.

Here is the 0% to 49% visualised

and the 50% to 100% visualised

2019, these 2 figures were 8.1% and 9.2% respectively. Higher allocations of assets to MySuper have done investors well.

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