An update on COVID-19
We recognise members may be concerned about their superannuation balance impacted by market volatility as a result of coronavirus crisis. Whilst the markets may remain volatile in short to medium term, it is important to remember that superannuation is a long term investment. Negative impacts on superannuation balances from this volatility and downturns typically are temporary. As market volatility stabilises along with sustained longer term investment performance, superannuation balances largely will continue to grow.
Suncorp provides a range of superannuation investment options to support your retirement objectives. We diversify investment portfolios across different asset classes, regions, sectors, and investment managers.
We encourage you to seek professional financial advice about your investment options to determine if you are happy with the levels of risk in relation to your retirement plans, especially in the current economic climate.
For further information visit our investments page.
While superannuation helps people save for retirement, the financial impact from COVID-19 is unprecedented, as a result, the Government recognises that for many Australians, accessing savings in super today may outweigh the benefits of maintaining them until retirement.
If you're eligible, you will be able to access up to $10,000 of your superannuation before 1 July 2020. If you are eligible, you will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 in the 2020-21 year but you must apply prior to 31 December 2020 when the measure ends.
It's a big decision, taking money our of super now could mean you'll lock in the short term losses the markets have seen and you will miss out when the market rebounds. So how much is the right amount? How will taking my super out today impact my retirement? The Government will allow a maximum of $10,000 to be taken this financial year and again in the 20/21 financial year.
Our helpful tool can help you understand the impact of taking out some of your super today and what that could mean for your balance at retirement.
How to apply
If you decide that you would like to access your super early, you cannot apply for this directly with us.
You must apply directly to the ATO via my.gov.au. You will need to certify that you meet the above eligibility criteria. After the ATO has processed your application, they will issue you with a determination and notify your super fund to release the payment. For more information please see the attached fact sheet.
How could your insurance in your super be impacted by COVID-19?
- The insurance offered through your super with Suncorp has no pandemic exclusions in place.
- If a death results from COVID-19, the relevant insurance claim will be assessed as per normal conditions
- If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and are unable to work due to this illness, and lodge a claim, it will be assessed as per normal conditions.
- If you are receiving JobKeeper you are still eligible to claim on Income Protection cover
This fact sheet provides further information.
Are you eligible for other financial assistance?
If you’ve been impacted financially and you’re wondering where to go next in this uncertain time, it may be worth considering the financial relief options that may be available to you from the Government, banks and other companies for immediately relief for Australians during this crisis. You can find out more detailed information on the government and MoneySmart websites.
Fortnightly payments to keep you employed
Your employer will let you know if they will now be paying you the fortnightly $1,500 (before tax) JobKeeper Payment so you can remain employed and ready to help your employer restart their business quickly once the crisis is over.
If you own a business, as well as the JobKeeper payments, there are a range of support measures available to help you manage your cash flow and keep your employees.
Additional fortnightly income support payments
If you already receive or are now eligible to receive the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance or Special Benefit, you will now receive an additional $550 per fortnight coronavirus supplement payment. This will be paid to both existing and new recipients for the next six months. The attached fact sheet provides further detail or visit the Government website.
Two additional household support payments
If you already receive social security, veteran or other income support payments or are an eligible concession card holder, you will receive two automatic $750 economic support payments – one before 13 April and another from 13 July. The attached fact sheet provides further detail or visit the Government website.
Help to pay your mortgage
If you are having problems meeting your mortgage repayments, you can talk to your bank about changing the terms of your loan or discussing an alternative payment arrangement under a hardship variation. For more information visit the Australian Banking Association or if you bank with Suncorp, visit our page here.
Moratorium on eviction if you can’t pay your rent
The government has announced that you won’t be evicted from your rental property for the next six months if you are experiencing financial stress and can’t pay your rent. The National Cabinet is working on a "mandatory code" that will outline the eviction moratorium in more detail
Access to financial counselling
You can talk to a financial counsellor for free through a community organisation, community legal centre or government agency. Financial counsellors are trained finance professionals who can help you work through your immediate financial issues. To get started, you can call the free National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.
The Government is helping retirees to manage the impact of volatility in financial markets on their retirement savings by temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements.
All pension payments (including new pensions established) that are set to receive the minimum payment amount made for the 2020/21 financial year will automatically be reduced to the new minimum amount. To adjust your payment to another payment amount, please contact our Customer Service team.
The Government is also reducing social security deeming rates in recognition of the impact of the low interest rates on savings. For further information please refer to the attached fact sheet.
Why are the investment markets currently volatile?
Markets don't like uncertainty, particularly around the economic impact as result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis. There are concerns relating to global supply chains which could impact global trade and consequently global growth. Furthermore, there are some industries in particular that are impacted by the spread of the coronavirus, for example: tourism, aviation, manufacturing and transportation.
What is service standard for investment transactions?
Our service standards apply from when we receive your complete instructions. If we receive a complete investment transaction request from you by 12pm (noon) (Sydney time) on a business day, you’ll receive the unit price effective for the investment option for that day. If we receive a completed investment transaction request after 12pm on a business day, we’ll process the request using the investment option unit prices for the following business day.
How are the governments globally responding?
Already we have seen a response by global central banks who have cut cash rates seeking to protect local economies (e.g. Australia's Reserve Bank reduced its cash rate to 0.25% week ending 20 March 2020). It is anticipated that governments around the world will further seek to protect the local economies by releasing targeted fiscal stimulus packages in the coming weeks. These factors in combination should assist to calm the markets.
Governments are coordinating efforts to respond through public health initiatives including quarantine measures, travel bans and reminding the public of the importance of good health and, hygiene practices.
What does this mean for my superannuation investments?
It is important to remember that super is a long-term investment and volatility in the markets generally takes place in the short term. Since 2010 the equity markets have on average delivered gains in excess of 100% and the recent market downturn is offsetting some of these gains.
Each individual investment option is assigned an investment risk rating and is outlined in our guide for understanding investment risk. This guide also provides an expectation the of a number of negative annual returns over any 20-year period. This can be used to consider the level of risk you’re comfortable with. We also recommend seeking professional financial advice before making any investment decisions.
How does Suncorp Lifestage Funds insulate members from market risk?
There are two key points for noting in relation to Suncorp Lifestage Funds and market risk.
The first of these being the Suncorp Lifestage Funds (SLF) are designed to insulate older members from market volatility due to their increasing defensive asset allocation over time. For example, if all members were in a Balanced or Growth fund then they would all be uniformly exposed to market risk. However, the SLF utilises age-based cohorts that progressively become more defensive over time and serves to insulate from market related risk as they approach retirement. Approximately 33% of the Suncorp Master Trust (SMT) members are invested in this strategy.
The second point is upon entering the recent market correction the SLF were already defensively positioned with overweight asset allocation for Cash and Bonds.. This diversification has smoothed the investment performance for the current period of share market volatility. We are also currently taking the opportunity to rebalance these defensive assets into growth assets and taking advantage of lower share prices and the value it offers to the SLF investment options going forward.
How can I check my asset allocation?
You can check your asset allocation anytime via your secure online portal. Select Grow my super/Investments which will show the investment option and asset allocation breakdown.
As a general rule, investment options with a higher level of risk will provide a higher potential return. By the same token, lower risk investment options will provide lower potential returns.
We are here to help
During uncertain times where things are changing rapidly, it is understandable to that customers may be concerned about their super. If you have any questions or for more information, please contact us weekdays 9am - 5pm (AEST)
Suncorp Brighter Super
Call 13 11 55
Suncorp Everyday Super
Call 1800 191 517
Suncorp Employee Super Plan
Call 1800 652 489