According to Chant West, the average superannuation growth fund fell 0.4 per cent in February, bringing the return for the eight months to date to -1.6 per cent.
“Things could have been much worse after share markets here and overseas sold off heavily in the first half of the month,” Chant West director Warren Chant said.
Australian shares were down 1.7 per cent in February, with hedged international shares falling 1.5 per cent. While Australian REITs were up 2.8 per cent, global REITs were down 0.4 per cent.
“The lower-return/higher-volatility environment we’re currently in is likely to continue for some time given the shaky economic backdrop,” Mr Chant said.
“Many asset sectors are now close to being fully valued and it’s proving challenging to identify future sources of growth. The downward pressure on investment fees presents another challenge as funds search for additional sources of return.”
Mr Chant pointed out that Chinese growth and US monetary policy remain a concern for markets.
In Australia, both industry and retail funds achieved similar results in February, returning -0.4 per cent and -0.5 per cent respectively.
Industry funds remain ahead of retail funds over the long term, returning 6.7 per cent per annum over the last 15 years to February 2016. Retail funds have returned 5.4 per cent for the same period.
In the last seven years, however, retail funds have remained in front, returning 9.7 per cent compared to 8.9 per cent for industry funds.