Please see our latest news updates and if you have any questions please email us at sr@apss.com.au or call 1300 360 373.
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20 July 2020

Think twice - Spotting a super scam

Your super is a valuable asset, perhaps second only to the value of your home, so it’s important to keep it safe. If a stranger comes to your home and asks to be let in, you would naturally think twice before unlocking the door. With your super, you also need to think twice. In the latest edition of your member newsletter, InsightOpens in new window , we offer some useful tips on what to look for to avoid scams and when to be extra vigilant.  

7 July 2020

Investment Update – June Results

Share markets managed further small gains in June, in spite of choppy conditions, as positive news about easing restrictions on economic activity around the world alternated with reports about resurgent coronavirus outbreaks in the southern US, Beijing and a number of developing countries.  Shares in technology companies like Amazon led the market as societies embraced all things digital. This led to a further 1.9% gain on the APSS’s public market shares, alongside a 2.3% gain on alternative credit.  Results for other asset classes weren’t as positive over June, with weakness in the US dollar contributing to declines for private equity (-2.4%) and real assets (-1.9%), while bonds and cash added minor gains. That brought us to the end of a very turbulent financial year, with the APSS Balanced and High Growth options posting slight negative returns, while the Conservative and Cash options lived up to their labels with small positive returns. Despite the volatile conditions over the past six months in particular, you can see from the three-year figures in the table below that the longer-term trade off of higher returns for higher risk stayed intact, if only by a small margin. We will have more to report on the APSS’s investment performance in the upcoming edition of your quarterly Insight newsletter and your 2019-20 year annual report.

Member Savings accounts (including Spouse and Rollover accounts) 
Crediting rates for June 2020 and over 1 year, 3 years (p.a.) and 5 years (p.a.) to 30 June 2020:

Cash

Conservative

Balanced

High Growth

June 2020

0.01%

0.30%

0.23%

0.28%

1 year

0.78%

0.73%

-1.15%

-2.13%

3 years (p.a.)

1.33%

3.47%

4.20%

4.49%

5 years (p.a.)

1.44%

n/a

4.83%

n/a

Important reminders: 

  • Past investment returns are not necessarily indicative of future investment returns. 
  • APSS Defined Benefits are fundamentally not affected by investment returns, leaving aside the impact on offset accountsOpens in new window
  • The compound crediting rates shown above are after investment costs and tax (where applicable). Before 1 July 2017, the Cash option was called ‘Cash Return’, and the Balanced option was called ‘Market Return’. The Conservative and High Growth options commenced on 1 July 2017, which is why returns for periods longer than 3 years are currently not applicable (n/a).
  • Returns for Transition to Retirement (TTR) Pension accounts are the same as shown above except over five years because TTR Pensions were not taxed prior to 1 July 2017. For all other Pension accounts, the returns differ slightly from these numbers above because they are not taxed. 
  • You can calculate crediting rates for all options over all periods (up to the latest fortnight’s declared crediting rate) on the Crediting RatesOpens in new window page.

Australia Post Superannuation Scheme (ABN 42 045 077 895) Issuer: PostSuper Pty Ltd (ABN 85 064 225 841) RSE Licence Number L0002714 APSS Registration Number R1056549. Important Note: All investments carry risk and may rise and fall. International investing involves additional risks, including the risk of currency fluctuations. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns or crediting rates. APSS’s crediting rates are calculated fortnightly and are published on apss.com.au under the Investments tab. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature, is not intended to be financial product advice and does not take your personal financial circumstances into account. Before acting on any information contained in this document you should first consider its appropriateness to your financial circumstances. If you have any doubts or require further assistance you may wish to seek the advice of a professional financial adviser. The APSS Trustee does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence and therefore is not licensed to provide you with financial product advice. Issued: 7 July 2020.

1 July 2020

Are you eligible to access your super early? 

The Government's economic response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic allows eligible individuals to access up to $10,000 of their super in the new 2020-21 financial year, which starts today (1 July 2020). If you are eligible and need to access your super early on compassionate grounds, you must apply before 31 December 2020 (previously 24 September 2020 but extended in late July to the end of the year). You need to apply through the myGov website. Sign inOpens in new window to your myGov account or learn how to create a myGov accountOpens in new window to set one up.

Before you apply, please first ensure that you are eligible!

  1. Read the Government’s Early access to superannuation fact sheetOpens in new window to check your eligibility.
  2. Read the integrity and complianceOpens in new window guidance from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) on COVID-19 early release of super. The ATO will check various data sources for early-release claims made incorrectly and may impose penalties on people withdrawing super early who apply and are not eligible. 

Other ways of obtaining financial relief before accessing super early

You may also want to evaluate other ways of obtaining financial relief that will not reduce the money that you will want to live on in your retirement – for example, accessing government benefits you may now be eligible for. You can get free help, as explained on the financial counsellingOpens in new window page of ASIC’s Moneysmart website, which has a   COVID-19 sectionOpens in new window on making financial decisions, with tips on looking after yourself and your money.  

Also remember that all APSS members can access free general advice by calling 1300 360 373 but our service representatives are not licensed to provide personalised advice.

Important! Australia Post Superannuation Scheme (ABN 42 045 077 895) Issuer: PostSuper Pty Ltd (ABN 85 064 225 841) RSE Licence Number L0002714. APSS Registration Number R1056549. The information contained above is of a general nature, is not intended to be financial product advice and does not take your personal financial circumstances into account. Before acting on any information on this site you should first consider its appropriateness to your financial circumstances. If you have any doubts or require further assistance you may wish to seek the advice of a licensed financial adviser. The APSS Trustee does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence and therefore is not licensed to provide you with financial product advice.

12 June 2020

Investment Update – May Results

Share markets continued to climb through May 2020, underpinning decent monthly returns for the High Growth, Balanced and Conservative investment options, as can be seen in the table below. Over the month, the APSS’s public market share investments gained 4.1%. Share markets were buoyed by easing lockdown restrictions around the world and the hope that economic activity would start to recover as a result.  Bonds and alternative credit also posted small gains, but the APSS’s private equity and real assets, which are mostly invested across overseas markets, weakened slightly in value due to a strengthening Australian dollar.  Cash earned a meagre 0.02% in May, reflecting the 0.25% annual cash interest rate set by the Reserve Bank of Australia back in March 2020.  While May was a good month for shares, we still expect episodes of market volatility in the weeks and months ahead, as the world economy battles to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.  As always, we encourage members to focus on long-term investment returns and seek professional financial advice before reacting to short-term market ups and downs.  

The resulting crediting rates for periods up to 31 May 2020 can be seen in the table below for the investment options for APSS Member Savings accounts, and for Rollover and Spouse accounts. You can find more information, including answers to frequently-asked questions about your super in your latest Insight Opens in new window newsletter.

Member Savings accounts (including Spouse and Rollover accounts) 
Crediting rates for May 2020, and over 11 months, 1 year, 3 years (p.a.) and 5 years (p.a.) to 31 May 2020:

Cash

Conservative

Balanced

High Growth

May 2020

0.02%

1.06%

1.59%

2.80%

11 months

0.77%

0.43%

-1.37%

-2.40%

1 year

0.87%

1.39%

0.07%

-0.51%

3 years (p.a.)

1.36%

n/a

4.09%

n/a

5 years (p.a.)

1.46%

n/a

4.90%

n/a

Important reminders: 

  • Past investment returns are not necessarily indicative of future investment returns. 
  • APSS Defined Benefits are fundamentally not affected by investment returns, leaving aside the impact on offset accountsOpens in new window
  • The compound crediting rates shown above are after investment costs and tax (where applicable). Before 1 July 2017, the Cash option was called ‘Cash Return’, and the Balanced option was called ‘Market Return’. The Conservative and High Growth options commenced on 1 July 2017, which is why returns for periods longer than 1 year are currently not applicable (n/a).
  • Returns for Transition to Retirement (TTR) Pension accounts are the same as shown above except over three years and five years because TTR Pensions were not taxed prior to 1 July 2017. For all other Pension accounts, the returns differ slightly from these numbers above because they are not taxed. 
  • You can calculate crediting rates for all options over all periods (up to the latest fortnight’s declared crediting rate) on the Crediting RatesOpens in new window page.

Australia Post Superannuation Scheme (ABN 42 045 077 895) Issuer: PostSuper Pty Ltd (ABN 85 064 225 841) RSE Licence Number L0002714 APSS Registration Number R1056549. Important Note: All investments carry risk and may rise and fall. International investing involves additional risks, including the risk of currency fluctuations. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns or crediting rates. APSS’s crediting rates are calculated fortnightly and are published on apss.com.au under the Investments tab. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature, is not intended to be financial product advice and does not take your personal financial circumstances into account. Before acting on any information contained in this document you should first consider its appropriateness to your financial circumstances. If you have any doubts or require further assistance you may wish to seek the advice of a professional financial adviser. The APSS Trustee does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence and therefore is not licensed to provide you with financial product advice. Issued: 12 June 2020.

14 May 2020

Investment update – April results

April 2020 provided some relief for investors as share markets climbed back some way from the deep declines in February and March.  APSS public market share investments gained over 9% in April, in line with the Australian and international share markets. For the APSS High Growth, Balanced and Conservative investment options, the share market gains were offset somewhat by private equity and alternative credit investments, which had their valuations marked down to reflect the deterioration in economic conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The other asset classes – real assets, bonds and cash – all had small positive returns in April.  

The resulting crediting rates for periods up to 30 April 2020 can be seen in the table below for the investment options for APSS Member Savings accounts, and for Rollover and Spouse accounts. Although share markets have recovered a lot from their March lows, market sentiment will likely swing between hope and disappointment for some time as the pandemic-driven global economic downturn plays out. You can find more information, including answers to frequently-asked questions about your super during these uncertain times, in your latest InsightOpens in new window member newsletter.

Member Savings accounts (including Spouse and Rollover accounts) 
Crediting rates for April 2020, and over 10 months, 1 year, 3 years (p.a.) and 5 years (p.a.) to 30 April 2020:

Cash

Conservative

Balanced

High Growth

April 2020

0.06%

0.24%

0.45%

1.77%

10 months

0.75%

-0.63%

-2.92%

-5.06%

1 year

0.98%

0.50%

-1.70%

-4.12%

3 years (p.a.)

1.40%

n/a

3.92%

n/a

5 years (p.a.)

1.49%

n/a

4.65%

n/a

Important reminders: 

  • Past investment returns are not necessarily indicative of future investment returns. 
  • APSS Defined Benefits are fundamentally not affected by investment returns, leaving aside the impact on offset accountsOpens in new window
  • The compound crediting rates shown above are after investment costs and tax (where applicable). Before 1 July 2017, the Cash option was called ‘Cash Return’, and the Balanced option was called ‘Market Return’. The Conservative and High Growth options commenced on 1 July 2017, which is why returns for periods longer than 1 year are currently not applicable (n/a).
  • Returns for Transition to Retirement (TTR) Pension accounts are the same as shown above except over three years and five years because TTR Pensions were not taxed prior to 1 July 2017. For all other Pension accounts, the returns differ slightly from these numbers above because they are not taxed. 
  • You can calculate crediting rates for all options over all periods (up to the latest fortnight’s declared crediting rate) on the Crediting RatesOpens in new window page.

Australia Post Superannuation Scheme (ABN 42 045 077 895) Issuer: PostSuper Pty Ltd (ABN 85 064 225 841) RSE Licence Number L0002714 APSS Registration Number R1056549. Important Note: All investments carry risk and may rise and fall. International investing involves additional risks, including the risk of currency fluctuations. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns or crediting rates. APSS’s crediting rates are calculated fortnightly and are published on apss.com.au under the Investments tab. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature, is not intended to be financial product advice and does not take your personal financial circumstances into account. Before acting on any information contained in this document you should first consider its appropriateness to your financial circumstances. If you have any doubts or require further assistance you may wish to seek the advice of a professional financial adviser. The APSS Trustee does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence and therefore is not licensed to provide you with financial product advice. Issued: 14 May 2020.

7 May 2020

Are you waiting on an early release of super?

If you have applied for early release of super benefits as a result of financial hardship caused by COVID-19 and are eligible to access that money, please be aware that it may take up to 5 business days from the date the APSS is notified of your request by the Australian Taxation Office. If you’re applying for early access to an APSS Defined Benefit, it will take a little longer as this involves a manual process that can take about 10 business days. Please contact usOpens in new window if you do not believe you have received the funds you have applied for within a reasonable timeframe. Also, refer to the following article about being extra vigilant at this time. 

7 May 2020

Be extra vigilant about scammers and hackers at this time 

It’s always important to be on guard against scammers and hackers, but that vigilance is heightened now that many of us are forced to work remotely due to COVID-19, and some of us may be eligible to access super early. However, scammers and hackers will see COVID-19 as another opportunity to target you directly. This is why protecting your own identity has never been more important so please read page 8 of the latest edition of your member newsletter, Insight, to brush up on some of the things you can do to protect yourself.

Download Opens in new window InsightOpens in new window - See page 8.

5 May 2020

Significant Event Notice 

If you have provided us with your email address, you should receive an email this week with a link to a Significant Event Notice (SEN) providing important updates on: 
•    COVID-19: Early release of some of your super
•    COVID-19: Temporary reduction in the minimum Pension drawdown (Pension members only)
•    NEW non-lapsing binding beneficiary nominations
•    Investment changes (only relevant to employee members who have an 'other offset account')

If we don’t have your email address, we’ll be sending you a letter in the mail with your SEN enclosed but if you would like to receive such updates by email in future, please login to your account to update/provide your email (see 'Login' link below).
We also take this opportunity to remind you about your latest member newsletter, Insight, which was published online last Thursday (see 30 April update below). 

Download the SEN Opens in new window

Download InsightOpens in new window

LoginOpens in new window to your account to update/provide your email address. Once you have logged in, just click the ‘Member’ tab in the main menu, then select ‘Personal Details’ to scroll down to the email update field. 

30 April 2020

A COVID-19 Insight

Your latest member newsletter, Insight, provides answers to frequently-asked questions about your super and the APSS in this time of COVID-19. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has profoundly affected lives and livelihoods in communities around the world. Superannuation has not been spared from the stresses and demands brought on by the pandemic.

In the latest edition of your member newsletter, Insight, published today, we look at some of the ways the APSS has been responding to navigate a course through these extraordinary times, and offer answers to questions you may have. We hope that understanding how we’re responding to the crisis gives you one less thing to worry about. Most importantly, we are here to help. If you are thinking of changing your investment choice, seeking early access to some of your super, or adjusting your minimum pension income, please email us with your questions or call 1300 360 373.

Download Insight for answers to some of those key questions many of you have already raised, or may be on your mind after reading various reports about super funds in the media.

Download InsightOpens in new window

7 April 2020

Liquidity and the APSS

Recent media reports have questioned whether super funds have enough liquid assets (‘liquidity’) to meet extra demands for payments and investment choice changes due to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Liquidity simply means cash or investments that can quickly be sold and converted to cash, such as government bonds or shares traded on stock exchanges. Illiquid assets are those that cannot easily be sold at short notice because they are privately owned or ‘unlisted’. As a really simple everyday example, you could think of the money in your bank account as a liquid asset and your house as an illiquid asset.

Superannuation funds, including the APSS, can and do have illiquid investments for important reasons. They enable funds to diversify their risk and potentially improve long-term investment returns by investing in opportunities not necessarily available through liquid markets. 

The important thing is to have enough liquid assets to pay out benefits, make transfers, change investment choices and meet all other obligations, not only in normal times but also in times of market stress and dislocation, as we are currently experiencing.  

When it comes to liquidity, expect the unexpected. The Commonwealth Government’s recent announcement that eligible super fund members suffering financial hardship may access up to $20,000 of their super early, while an important piece of its economic rescue package for Australians at this time of crisis (see our 23 March update below), is a prime example of an unexpected new demand on super funds’ liquidity. 

If you’re wondering how all this affects the APSS, rest assured that the APSS has a high level of liquidity and is well prepared to pay benefits, including early release payments to those members who are eligible, without detriment to the investments of remaining members. Remember that:

  • The Cash investment option is 100% liquid.
  • Close to 80% of all other APSS investment options held in liquid assets, including cash, government bonds and shares.
  • The remaining minority of illiquid investments consist of a diversified mix of private equity, infrastructure, timberland, agriculture, business loans and other opportunities that we can and will hold for the long-term benefit of APSS members.

6 April 2020

Your APSS Defined Benefit during an extended period of leave

Are you an employee member of the APSS who has to take an extended period of leave? This update provides a reminder of how your APSS Defined Benefit continues to accrue during periods of paid and unpaid leave, and the death and disablement benefits that apply during those times.

Paid leave

Rest assured that your APSS Defined Benefit continues to accrue as normal during periods of paid leave. 

Unpaid leave

  • Your APSS Defined Benefit continues to accrue as normal if leave is unpaid for up to 28 days, and at the salary rate that applied immediately before your period of approved continuous unpaid leave. 
  • Exceptions to this rule for unpaid leave include:
    • Approved periods of maternity, paternity or adoption leave, where your APSS Defined Benefit continues to accrue as normal for up to 12 months in total, inclusive of any paid or unpaid periods. 
    • Unpaid leave due to illness, where your APSS Defined Benefit continues to accrue as normal for the duration of your unpaid leave.

Death and disablement benefits

If you’re entitled to an APSS Death and Total Permanent Disablement (TPD) entitlement, that continues for up to 12 months of approved, unpaid leave if you’re in the ‘14.3%’ Defined Benefit category. Eligible members in the ‘SG’ category are entitled to a Death benefit only, for a period of unpaid leave up to 12 months.

For more details, refer to the Your Defined Benefit & Member SavingsOpens in new window Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for employee members.

3 April 2020

Verifying identity and submitting documents to the APSS if you're self-isolating and can't go out

We have introduced a safe and secure way for you to verify your identity if you’re self-isolating, and we’ve made it easier for you to submit your forms and other important documents by email if needed. We hope these new processes make it easier for you to transact with the APSS during these challenging times.

Verifying your identity

For certain transactions, the law requires the APSS to verify your identity; for example, when opening a new Pension account, or transferring super money to a new bank account. We will generally request certified, hard-copy identification documents for such transactions, along with the required paperwork. 

However, if you are now unable to leave your home to have documents certified, all you need to do is contact our call centre on 1300 360 373. A member of our team will explain and guide you through a validation process we’ve introduced using ‘greenID,’ an online tool widely used in the finance industry as a safe and secure way to verify a person’s identity. It works by matching your identification documents (e.g. Medicare card, driver licence, passport) in real-time against government records. Once greenID has cross-referenced and made a successful match, your verified identity will be valid for three months unless your details change. 

Submitting paperwork

We’ve also introduced a new process allowing you to email certain paperwork* to us in four simple steps using your smartphone:
•    Take a photo of all of your paperwork (or scan them).
•    Take a video of yourself signing one of the documents.
•    Take a ‘selfie’ of you holding one of your identity documents next to your face - the photo page of your passport would be ideal
•    Email these photos, scans and video to sr@apss.com.au

*Excludes submission of a Binding beneficiary formOpens in new window , which must still be provided as a hard copy.

27 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update – Think first, think carefully!

At stressful and challenging times like these, it’s understandable that many of us itch to do something; anything to try and fix or reverse a difficult situation. It’s very important however to think through any financial decision you make and to get advice if you need it. Here’s a few things to consider if you have the following thoughts on your mind:

•    “I need to switch my investment choice to a safer investment option like Cash now”
•    “I need to access my super early”

“I need to switch my investment choice to a safer investment option like Cash now”

Share markets and other growth investments have fallen significantly since late February, when COVID-19 began to spread around the world. But this week, we have seen a partial bounce back, with Australia’s share market up more than 10% over recent days. Nobody can predict a full recovery at this stage – far from it. This week’s market movements are a clear sign of the extremely volatile conditions we are navigating though right now. In such conditions, it is important to consider your circumstances and ask yourself if switching the course of your investment strategy now is the best decision for you.  

At this time of heightened uncertainty, switching all your APSS member savings to cash or another lower-risk investment option will lock in whatever decline in value your savings have incurred during this downturn, and you risk missing out on potential future gains if and when markets eventually do turn around and recover. Keep in mind that a reduction in value is only really a loss if you sell (switch your investment option) at that value. 

Be aware that in the APSS, we are not designed for switching in and out of investment options frequently. We are set up for our members to plan long term rather than try to time the market by switching often. Switches can be made in fortnightly cycles. So if you have the itch to switch, we urge you to carefully think through all of the possible consequences of making that decision and ensure that you are comfortable with the longer-term implications for you. 

For more detail on the APSS investment options (including descriptions of the suitability and the minimum suggested investment timeframe for the investment option to meet its return objective), read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) applicable to you, which is available at apss.com.au under the 'Publications & Forms' tab.

You may also consider getting some financial advice. Remember that all APSS members have access to free general advice by calling 1300 360 373. However, our service representatives are not licensed to provide personalised advice. If you would like personalised financial advice, we recommend that you seek advice from a licensed financial adviser. ‘Moneysmart’ the consumer website of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), has some tips on choosing a financial adviserOpens in new window that suits you and your goals. 

“I need to access my super early”

Assuming that you are eligible to access your super early as part of the Government’s recent response to the COVID-19 crisis (see our update below from 23 March 2020), you may be able to draw up to $10,000 from your APSS benefit before 30 June this year, and up to another $10,000 in the next financial year starting from 1 July 2020. 

Applications for early release of super relating to COVID-19 must be made through the myGov website. You will need to sign inOpens in new window (from mid April) to your myGov account. If you do not already have one, learn how to create a myGov accountOpens in new window and set it up before mid April so you’re ready to go.

Before you apply for early release of your super, you may want to evaluate other ways of obtaining financial relief that will not reduce the money that you will want to live on in your retirement – for example, accessing government benefits you may now be eligible for. You can get free help, as explained on the financial counsellingOpens in new window page of ASIC’s Moneysmart website, which has a  COVID-19Opens in new window section on making financial decisions during this challenging time, with tips on looking after yourself and your money.  

Again, remember that all APSS members can access free general advice by calling 1300 360 373 but our service representatives are not licensed to provide personalised advice, as mentioned above.

Important! Australia Post Superannuation Scheme (ABN 42 045 077 895) Issuer: PostSuper Pty Ltd (ABN 85 064 225 841) RSE Licence Number L0002714. APSS Registration Number R1056549. The information contained above is of a general nature, is not intended to be financial product advice and does not take your personal financial circumstances into account. Before acting on any information on this site you should first consider its appropriateness to your financial circumstances. If you have any doubts or require further assistance you may wish to seek the advice of a licensed financial adviser. The APSS Trustee does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence and therefore is not licensed to provide you with financial product advice. 

23 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update - Early release and Pension minimum drawdown

The following superannuation-related measures were announced on Sunday 22 March as part of the Government’s economic response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:

  • Allowing eligible individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in the current 2019-20 year, and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.
    Read moreOpens in new window
  • A temporary reduction in the minimum drawdown requirements for superannuation pensions like APSS Pensions for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years to help retirees manage the impact of volatility in financial markets.
    Read moreOpens in new window

For more information and updates, visit the:

Applying for early release of your super (from mid April)

These changes have been passed through legislation, but we anticipate that it will be mid-April before members will be able to apply for early access to their funds. This application will need to be done through the myGov website - sign inOpens in new window or find details on how to create a myGov accountOpens in new window if you do not already have one. To apply for early release of super, you will have to satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:

  • you are unemployed; or
  • you are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance; or
  • on or after 1 January 2020:
    • you were made redundant; or
    • your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more; or
    • if you are a sole trader - your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.

 Any early payments will be tax-free and will not impact on Centrelink or Veteran's Affairs payments. 

17 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update - How it impacts your super benefits

  • Your APSS Defined Benefit is not in any way affected by investment returns (unless you are one of the relatively few members with an ‘Offset Account’ linked to it – see below)
     
  • If you have an APSS Member Savings, Spouse, Rollover or Pension account:
    • Focus on the long-term with an investment strategy that’s right for your personal objectives, situation and needs.
    • Remember that switching to a lower-risk investment option right now can ‘lock in’ the loss, so you may miss out on the potential upside if and when share markets recover.

We understand that our members are genuinely concerned about their super in light of steep falls in the Australian and overseas share markets over the last few weeks. These falls are largely driven by deepening concerns in financial markets about the economic impact of the 'coronavirus' (COVID-19) pandemic. Here are answers to some of the questions you may be asking.

Is my APSS Defined Benefit affected?

The good news for almost all employee members is that APSS Defined Benefits are totally protected from investment risks. Australia Post and Associated Employers contribute funds into the APSS to pay for defined benefits and bear all the investment risk on these funds, not you as a member.

A small minority of members will have an ‘Offset Account’ linked to their APSS Defined Benefit. Offset Accounts are credited with investment returns and therefore can move up and down in value, as explained in further detail below. However, lower returns or even negative returns should actually work in favour of members with Offset Accounts.

How are APSS Member Savings, Spouse, Rollover and Pension accounts affected?

The value of Member Savings, Spouse, Rollover and Pension accounts are credited with investment returns and are therefore affected by current market conditions.

The extent to which current investment conditions affect your account depends on which investment option (or options) you have selected. The impact of share market volatility is greater on the High Growth and Balanced options, which hold higher allocations to shares than the Conservative option, while there is no impact at all on the Cash option.

On the other hand, the Cash option tracks the official cash interest rate set by the Reserve Bank of Australia. This has been reduced to just 0.5% and may be cut even further in the coming weeks (Note: The rate was reduced to 0.25% just a couple of days later). So all Member Savings, Spouse, Rollover and Pension accounts (and Offset Accounts) are being affected in some way by the financial market impact of the pandemic.

How can I check the impact on my account?

You can check the latest fortnightly crediting rates on the APSS’s investment options on our website by clicking on this linkOpens in new window . You can also check your account balance and which investment option(s) you have selected by logging into your secure APSS MemberAccess dashboard. If you need help to do this, you can call 1300 360 373.

What should I be thinking about with my super right now?

In a recent edition of our Insight newsletter, covering the September 2019 quarter, we mentioned some tried and tested investment guidelines to help you reach your financial destination, even if we experience more volatile conditions in the financial markets. You can read the full article hereOpens in new window .

‘Volatile’ may be an understatement in describing the current conditions, but our investment guidelines haven’t really changed:

  • Maintain an investment strategy that matches your long-term objectives and your investment timeframe.

  • Diversify (i.e. spread) your investments to reduce the risk of heavy or permanent losses from a single investment – especially important in times of economic stress.

  • Try to avoid reacting emotionally to short-term investment returns – you risk locking in short-term losses from a market decline and missing out on potential future gains if/when the market recovers, taking you off course from your longer-term strategy.

  • Consider your personal circumstances and needs in deciding whether to make extra contributions to your super balance.

The APSS investment options are highly diversified and certain investments, including government bonds and certain safe haven foreign currencies are providing stability and even yielding gains in these conditions. We are following our own guidelines and keeping all of the APSS investment options consistent with their asset allocation targets. This has led us to top up our allocations to Australian and overseas shares as markets have fallen and we expect this to benefit members in the High Growth, Balanced and Conservative options if/when share markets recover in the longer term.

Where can I get more information and who can advise me?

Our highly-trained service representatives, who can be reached on 1300 360 373, can explain, in general terms, what choices are appropriate for different members at different ages. They cannot, however, provide you with personal financial advice. For that, you need to speak to someone licensed to provide such advice.

If you decide that you need some personalised, individual advice about your super you can choose any financial planner you want. You may wish to go to ‘Moneysmart’ the consumer website of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), which has a section on choosing a financial adviserOpens in new window with guidance on finding an adviser that suits you and your goals.

Important! Australia Post Superannuation Scheme (ABN 42 045 077 895) Issuer: PostSuper Pty Ltd (ABN 85 064 225 841) RSE Licence Number L0002714. APSS Registration Number R1056549. The information contained above is of a general nature, is not intended to be financial product advice and does not take your personal financial circumstances into account. Before acting on any information on this site you should first consider its appropriateness to your financial circumstances. If you have any doubts or require further assistance you may wish to seek the advice of a licensed financial adviser. The APSS Trustee does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence and therefore is not licensed to provide you with financial product advice.