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Choosing an
investment option

What type of investor are you?

When you join MLC for your super, your money is invested into the investment option(s) you choose, or defaulted to MySuper if you’re a member of MLC MasterKey Business Super and don’t make a choice. It’s a good idea to regularly review your super to make sure it’s meeting your needs. The recent investment market downturn and quick rebound may also be a prompt to take a look at your super.

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Things to consider when choosing an investment

When choosing an investment, there are many factors to consider, but here are just a few of the main ones:

  • What do you want your super to achieve? You may want growth, keeping pace with inflation, or you may be more focused on protection of your capital?
  • How long do you have or want to invest?
  • What is your tolerance to risk and comfort with fluctuations in your super balance?

Our wide range of investment options are generally invested in or across two main types of investments, Growth and Defensive, and depending on how you answered, there are investment options that:

  • Focus on growing your retirement savings by investing in assets that offer good growth potential over long periods of time; or
  • Aim to generate more stable returns by investing in less volatile investments to safeguard investments from fluctuations; or
  • Offer a balance to varying degrees, between growth and defensive assets, that may be suited to investors who are prepared to give up some growth potential for less volatility; these investors usually have a medium to long investment timeframe.

In the table below, we cover different investments in more detail:


About Could be suited to
1. Growth-focused

Focused on increasing capital but comes with higher volatility

 A growth investment strategy is generally skewed towards growth investments (for example shares and property (70-85%) with the remaining invested in defensive assets such as cash and fixed income.)

 Over a 20-year period, growth strategies have delivered higher returns than more cautious or conservative strategies which are aimed at generating a steady income and have relatively low volatility or risk.

 Given their higher potential returns, growth strategies are also more likely to ensure money outpaces inflation — this is important if an investor is planning to maintain their same level of spending in retirement.

 Returns are more likely to fluctuate over a short period due to changes in the investment markets and other economic factors. Asset classes like shares and property have higher return potential and experience greater fluctuations in value, than cash or fixed income investments.

An investor with a longer investment timeframe who feels
comfortable with their investment balance fluctuating over shorter periods of time, in the pursuit of long-term potential growth.
2. Defensive-focused

Designed to generate a stable income with the lower volatility

 A defensive investment strategy is not as focused on growth. Instead it aims to generate a steady income and more stable value by insulating investments from market volatility.

 It is important to note however, that while this is considered a more conservative approach, historically this strategy has only earned returns slightly better than inflation in the long run. As such, an investor with a conservative strategy may not be able to maintain their same current standard of living in retirement.

 Due to the low level of risk, a defensive investment strategy would have a lower percentage of growth assets (for example only 20-30% exposure to growth assets with approximately 70-80% invested in defensive assets.)

A conservative investor who wants to protect their retirement savings and may therefore desire security rather than growth.

How asset classes align to these investments

The growth and defensive investments generally sit into the four asset classes shown in the table below:

Asset Class Investment strategy About
Shares Growth
(Generally higher return with higher risk)
May earn the highest return over time but are more likely to fluctuate in the short term. Shares are a growth asset but are considered a high-risk investment.
Property Usually in the form of unlisted property funds, listed property trusts, industrial, commercial or retail real estate. Potentially earn more than fixed interest and cash, although less than shares, as values tend to fluctuate more over time.
Fixed income Defensive
(Generally lower return with lower risk)
Tends to provide better returns than cash over the long term, but lower returns than property or shares.
Cash Generally, a stable investment that provides steady returns. Returns tend to be lowest of all asset classes over time.

All asset classes can suffer negative returns as investment markets are unpredictable over short periods of time. The recent share market fall and subsequent rebound in March and April due to the outbreak of COVID-19 is a great example of the ferocity with which markets can fluctuate. But it can be reassuring to know, the longer you invest, the more likely you are to grow your investment as fluctuations like these tend to offset through time.

How comfortable are you with risk?

Before choosing an investment option, it’s important to consider your tolerance to fluctuations, known as investment risk. How long you plan to invest your super and your comfort with short-term market fluctuations can help determine what kind of investment strategy and options may suit you.

Asset classes like shares and property have the potential to generate higher returns but generally can expose you to greater short-term fluctuations in value as opposed to defensive assets such as cash and fixed income investments. Diversifying your super across the different asset classes can help smooth out those fluctuations.

While you need to be prepared for all sorts of outcomes when investing, it’s important to understand that to grow your capital over long periods of time, you may experience some fluctuations in the value of your investment returns.

Time to review your investment options?

It’s a good idea to take the time to consider what you are wanting to achieve from your super and what different investment strategies could mean for your returns and retirement. To view the investment strategy for your current investment options and others in our range, refer to the Investment Menu in your Product Disclosure Statement. We also have the latest performance, asset allocations and commentaries on our Fund Profile Tool.

Advice can help

We have a dedicated team who can talk you through your options and help you understand the considerations. Call us on 132 652 and get obligation-free answers to your general questions and simple advice for your super, investments or insurance needs.

Important information and disclaimer

This information has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. This information is current as at July 2020 and may be subject to change. This information may constitute general advice. The information is factual in nature and does not take into account personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions based on this information. You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. An investment with NULIS is not a deposit with, or liability of, and is not guaranteed by NAB or other members of the NAB Group. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue. In some cases information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the NAB Group accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. The value of an investment may rise or fall with the changes in the market.