FAQs

What are the ‘conditions of release’?

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Before you can access your super, you need to meet a condition of release under superannuation law preservation rules. The conditions of release that let a member’s benefits be cashed include:

  • retiring permanently from the workforce on, or after, reaching your preservation age
  • terminating your employment after you reach 60
  • reaching 65
  • terminating employment with an employer who contributed to UniSuper on your behalf and your super is less than $200
  • becoming permanently incapacitated
  • having a terminal medical condition
  • death.

Some conditions of release allow the partial cashing of benefits, including: 

  • compassionate grounds
  • financial hardship.

Different rules apply to temporary residents, while additional restrictions may apply to members in the DBD.

You’ll find more information in the PDS relevant to your UniSuper membership.

What factors does UniSuper take into account when choosing external investment managers?

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We take into account a wide range of factors when selecting external investment managers to manage your retirement savings.

For more information, see External investment managers.

What is ‘Transition to retirement’?

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Transition to retirement (TTR) is a government initiative that lets you use your super to start a pension while you’re still working provided you’ve reached preservation age. If you’re eligible, it could help you:

  • reduce your work hours and supplement your income from your super through a regular income stream from a pension account, or
  • maintain your work hours, access a pension income and salary sacrifice more into your super. (You may even be able to structure the strategy so you don’t affect your net income).

For more information, see transition to retirement

If you need help deciding whether a TTR strategy is right for you, we recommend you speak to a qualified financial adviser.

What’s UniSuper’s approach to divestment?

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We have a legal and fiduciary obligation to our members to aim to maximise their financial outcomes within the constraints applicable to each investment option.

Investment and divestment decisions are based on judgements on the financial sustainability of an asset. However, this decision-making process involves a robust investment analysis, and takes into account the financial implications of a range of factors including environmental and social considerations. For example, we’ve decided not to invest in companies considered manufacturers of cigarettes and tobacco products for any of our investment options due to the financial risks those businesses face.

We understand some members would like options that specifically screen out certain sectors. The Sustainable Balanced and Sustainable High Growth options screen out companies with material exposure to fossil fuel exploration and production, alcohol, gambling, weapons and tobacco.

Because it only invests in companies with a specific focus, the Global Environmental Opportunities option doesn’t have exposure to companies involved in tobacco, alcohol, gambling, weapons or fossil fuel exploration and production.

The screening parameters were decided after reviewing industry practices and norms and consulting various parties including knowledgeable members who are passionate about these issues.

See the ‘Responsible investing’ section of our website or read our Chief Investment Officer’s commentary on UniSuper's divestment approach for more detailed information.

What will happen to my UniSuper pension when I die?

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Flexi Pension

If you have a valid reversionary beneficiary in place when you die, the balance of your pension (if any) will be paid to your reversionary beneficiary. If you don’t have a valid reversionary beneficiary, your pension will stop and the remaining balance of your pension account (if any) will be paid to your dependants and/or your legal personal representative as a lump sum.

Commercial Rate Indexed Pension

If you have a Single Life Indexed Pension, your pension will end when you die (unless you die within the guarantee period, in which case the residual amount will be paid to your dependants and/or legal personal representative as a lump sum).

If you have a Joint Life Indexed Pension, when you die, a reversionary pension will be paid to your nominated spouse for the remainder of their life.

Defined Benefit Indexed Pension

Your surviving spouse will receive a 62.5% reversionary pension for the rest of their life. They’re able to commute all or part of this pension into a lump sum prior to a pension starting. A benefit may also be paid to your dependent or disabled children.

When can I access my super?

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The government places restrictions on when you can access your super: you can only access it if you’ve satisfied a condition of release (see the question, ‘What are the ‘conditions of release?’). Generally, your super must be preserved in the super system until you permanently retire from the workforce on, or after, reaching your preservation age.

 Your date of birth Your preservation age 
 Before 1 July 1960  55
 1 July 1960 - 30 June 1961  56
 1 July 1961 - 30 June 1962  57
 1 July 1962 - 30 June 1963  58
 1 July 1963 - 30 June 1964  59
 1 July 1964 or after  60 

There are some special instances, however, where you can access your super before reaching your preservation age (see the question, ‘What are the ‘conditions of release?’).

You may also be eligible to withdraw eligible voluntary contributions for the purchase of your first home prior to preservation age.

Before making any decisions about your super, we recommend you discuss your personal financial situation and needs with a qualified financial adviser.


When will my UniSuper pension end?

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Flexi Pension

You’ll receive pension payments until your account balance reaches zero.

Commercial Rate Indexed Pension and Defined Benefit Indexed Pension

You’ll receive pension payments for the rest of your life.

(Note: the payment of Commercial Rate and Defined Benefit Indexed Pensions is subject to the risk the DBD won’t have sufficient assets to meet all obligations to DBD members. For more information see, ‘Risks of super’ in the Defined Benefit Division and Accumulation 2 PDS.

Why are there differences between UniSuper’s Cash option returns and retail deposit rates?

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Our published Cash option returns are historical returns for a period net of fund taxes. Published bank rates are typically forward-looking annual rates gross of tax. Comparing historical returns with prospective rates net and gross of tax can make return comparison misleading.

For more information, see Cash.

Why does UniSuper manage some funds in-house rather than all via external managers?

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We have a competitive advantage in managing funds internally due to our scale, skills and growth. This provides us with information and access advantages relative to other institutions.

It’s important to note the portfolios we manage internally don’t compete directly in the space of our external managers.

As a member you benefit from:

  • Compelling economics, as managing portfolios in-house lowers management fees, brokerage and other intermediary fees
  • Scalability, which frees up capacity in allocating to ‘special’ managers who are typically constrained by their funds under management
  • Closer 'hands-on' after-tax performance management, for example, we aim to capture franking credits for the Australian equities portfolios as they’re valuable to super funds, and
  • Improved market intelligence.

Why should I consider getting personal financial advice, can’t I just do it myself?

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Choosing to receive financial advice is a personal decision. When considering whether it’s right for you, you might want to think about the financial and investments knowledge you’d need to be able to manage your own finances, especially if your financial situation is complex.

Our financial advisers are qualified and aim to help you achieve your financial goals. Their skills can be difficult to replicate if you don’t have the right knowledge, experience or access to the latest financial and investment information.