This paper provides a preliminary analysis of performance of employee’s workplace superannuation accounts. We utilise a diverse sample of Australian workers drawn from a large national superannuation trust over a time period spanning the global financial crisis. We consider performance in terms of growth in a member’s account balance and the relative role of gross contributions and investment returns in the account balance. We investigate the performance of the minority of members who change their investment strategy relative to those who remain in the sub-plan’s default investment option. Within a savings scheme which is fundamentally longterm, we highlight the vagaries of short-term performance which is influenced by factors within and external to the member’s control.


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This Working Paper was produced by the CSIRO-Monash Superannuation Research Cluster a collaboration between the CSIRO and Monash University, the University of Western Australia, Griffith University and the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. In addition, the Cluster engages on an ongoing basis with a range of industry supporters, government agencies and industry peak bodies who assist in providing guidance and feedback to researchers, providing data, and in disseminating outcomes. The purpose of the Super Research Cluster is to examine issues pertaining to the future of Australia’s superannuation and retirement systems.