Postprint of: Niblock, S, Sinnewe, E, Heng, P 2017, 'A review of superannuation fund performance studies: empirical evidence from Australia – 2000 to 2014', Accounting Research Journal, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 224-240.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to showcase empirical findings in the literature relating to Australian superannuation fund performance in the pre-reform period, from 2000 to 2014. Design/methodology/approach – The authors synthesize Australian superannuation performance studies in an attempt to identify empirical approaches employed in the academic literature, showcase findings and uncover themes for future research. Findings – The review highlights the following findings in the literature: actively managed “retail” superannuation funds appear to underperform passive index and/or portfolio approaches; high management fees and preference for liquid, less growth-orientated assets may be further undermining performance. It also reveals the need for future research to assess whether the recent government inquiries and the related reformative measures have achieved the desired effect of improving the Australian superannuation system. The authors therefore identify three areas of investigation that will cater for this research need: the fund performance of not-for-profit fund and self-managed super fund; the efficiency of super funds; and the appropriateness of wholesale fund benchmarks. Originality value – It is expected that superannuation fund performance will be subject to heightened scrutiny to assess the effectiveness of recent legislative changes resulting from the Stronger Super reform and other public inquiries. This study provides a timely, substantive and informative review of empirical findings pertaining to Australian superannuation performance in the pre-reform period to assist researchers looking to conduct further empirical research on this topic.