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Socially Conscious Balanced

Offers a diversified portfolio aligned with a more extensive set of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles than our other investment options.

We launched a new investment option menu on 1 July 2024.  Please visit the info hub to learn how this affects Accumulation and Income accounts.

Summary

As at 31 March 2024

7.01% p.a.

Returns over the last 10 years1

5+ years

Suggested timeframe

0.65% p.a.

Fees2 + admin fees and costs

Who it suits

Suitable if you're an investor who:

  • wants a diversified portfolio with around 70% growth assets
  • wants to grow your super over the long term and invest according to an extended set of environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles
  • is prepared to accept the option can have negative returns over the shorter term
  • is prepared to accept high levels of volatility in returns from year to year.

Risk3

 
  • Very low
  • Low
  • Low to medium
  • Medium
  • Medium to high
  • High
  • Very high

Expected number of years of negative annual returns in any 20 years: 4 to less than 6. The risk is based on the standard risk measure (SRM).

Investment objective3

Accumulation and TTR Income accounts: CPI + 3.5% p.a.
Retirement Income accounts: CPI + 4.0% p.a.

Option size

Super assets: $405.7 million
Pension assets: $97.5 million

Socially Conscious Balanced performance

As at 31 March 20241


The Socially Conscious Balanced option for Accumulation accounts produced a return of 5.0% for the March quarter and 11.4% over the year to March 2024.

World share markets performed strongly over the first quarter of 2024, supported by increased confidence in prospects for the global economy. Australian shares underperformed the major developed markets while nevertheless producing strong returns.

A fall in the Australian dollar against a range of developed and emerging market currencies added to the returns of unhedged international shares over the quarter and over the year to March 2024.

Global fixed income returns were negative as yields rose substantially in the world’s major bond markets.

For the Socially Conscious Balanced option listed shares portfolio, stocks that are excluded from the list of approved investments added to returns over the period.

Accumulation accounts Retirement Income accounts4
10 years (p.a.) 7.01% 7.84%
7 years (p.a.) 7.43% 8.22%
5 years (p.a.) 7.61% 8.40%
3 years (p.a.) 7.05% 7.80%
1 year 11.39% 12.75%
3 months 5.01% 5.59%

Past performance isn't a reliable indicator of future performance. Returns shown are after investment fees and costs, transaction costs and investment taxes (where relevant) but before all other fees and costs.

Returns shown here for our Accumulation account are also the returns that apply for Transition to Retirement Income accounts. Tax generally doesn't apply to investment earnings in Retirement Income accounts.

Socially Conscious Balanced asset allocation


 

Strategic asset allocation5
Australian shares
25.5%
International shares
26.5%
Unlisted assets and alternatives
28.0%
Fixed income
18.0%
Cash
2.0%
Total 100%

The following exclusions apply to the Socially Conscious Balanced option's Australian and international shares asset classes:

Exclusions1 Description of exclusion criteria Exclusion threshold

Thermal coal

Thermal coal includes lignite, bituminous, anthracite and steam coal.

Mining of thermal coal and its sale to external parties. 5% total revenue threshold (reported or estimated) in most recent year of financial reporting.

Metallurgical coal

Metallurgical coal includes coking coal.

Mining of metallurgical coal and its sale to external parties.

Oil and gas

Oil and gas includes conventional and unconventional oil and gas, oil sands, shale oil, shale gas, Arctic oil and Arctic gas.

Extraction and production or refining of oil and gas.

Fossil fuel power generation

This includes thermal coal, liquid fuel and natural gas-based power generation.

Fossil fuel power generation.

Alcohol

Alcoholic products are any fermented liquor that contains ethyl alcohol or ethanol as an intoxicating agent.

Companies that manufacture alcoholic products, including brewers, distillers, and vintners. It also includes companies that own or operate wine vineyards.

Gambling

Gambling facilities include casinos, racetracks, bingo parlors or other betting establishments, including: horse, dog or other racing events that permit wagering; lottery operations; online gambling; fantasy sports that permit wagering; pari-mutuel wagering facilities; bingo; pachislot and pachinko parlors; slot machines; jai alai; mobile gambling; and sporting events that permit wagering.

Companies that own or operate gambling facilities.

Adult entertainment

Adult entertainment products are materials that fall into the following 6 categories: producer of X-rated films, producer of pay-per-view programming or channels, producer of sexually explicit video games, producer of books or magazines with adult content, live entertainment of an adult nature, producer of adults-only material on the internet.

Companies that produce, direct or publish adult entertainment materials.

Tobacco and alternative smoking products

Tobacco products include cigars, blunts, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, inhalers, beedis, kreteks, smokeless tobacco, snuff, snus, dissolvable and chewing tobacco. Alternative smoking products include electronic cigarettes and tobacco inhalers.

Companies that manufacture tobacco products including companies that grow or process raw tobacco leaves, or products aimed to replace or supplement tobacco products. No threshold (companies deriving any revenue from the manufacture of these products are excluded).

Controversial weapons

Controversial weapons are cluster munitions, landmines, biological/chemical weapons, depleted uranium weapons, blinding laser weapons, incendiary weapons and/or nondetectable fragments.

Companies that have any ties to controversial weapons.
Any involvement.

Nuclear weapons

A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion.

Companies that have an industry tie to nuclear weapons.
Live animal exports Australian shares companies that own and/or operate live animal export operations.  Australian shares companies identified by Australian Retirement Trust through internal desktop research that own and/or operate live animal export operations. 

Footnotes

  1. Thermal coal, metallurgical coal, oil and gas, and fossil fuel power generation exclusions are based on MSCI ESG Climate Change Metrics Methodology and definitions (October 2023), data supplied through, and defined within, MSCI ESG Manager platform, and the associated universe coverage. The alcohol, gambling, adult entertainment, tobacco and alternative smoking products, controversial weapons and nuclear weapons exclusions are based on MSCI Business Involvement Screening Research Methodology and definitions (October 2023), data supplied through, and defined within, MSCI ESG Manager platform, and the associated universe coverage. The live animal exports exclusion applies to listed Australian shares companies identified by Australian Retirement Trust through internal desktop research.

Exceptions to these exclusions

The screening criteria do not apply to pooled vehicles or derivatives, which may have indirect exposure to companies exceeding the screens.

The thermal coal exclusion does not apply to companies deriving revenue from metallurgical coal (in other words, coal used in the production of steel), coal mined for internal power generation, intra-company sales of mined thermal coal, revenue from coal trading, or royalty income for companies not involved in thermal coal extraction operations.

The metallurgical coal exclusion does not apply to companies deriving revenue from thermal coal (in other words, coal used for power generation), intra-company sales of mined metallurgical coal, revenue from coal trading, or royalty income for companies not involved in metallurgical coal extraction operations.

Sometimes we may accept excluded listed shares as part of super fund mergers. In this instance, we seek to divest in a manner aligned with members' best financial interests, usually within 30 days.

How we apply the exclusions

We rely on the accuracy of data from a third-party provider (MSCI) to implement the exclusions, other than the exclusion concerning live animal exports.

We update exclusion lists twice a year. Following those updates, we tell external investment managers which listed equity shares must be excluded from new and existing investments.

For other asset classes to which the screens in the table don't apply, we still take steps to integrate consideration of material ESG risks and opportunities into investment decisions we make for this option as set out in the PDS that applies to you.

What we invest in

Portfolio holdings disclosure information for all of Australian Retirement Trust’s products in line with the specific requirements of Australian law can be found here.

Information relating to the holdings of the Socially Conscious Balanced option specifically prepared for the disclosure standards of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) for certification can be found here.

By value as at 31 March 2024


Australian Shares (top 10)

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

CSL Ltd

Australia and New Zealand Banking

Macquarie Group Ltd

Wesfarmers Ltd

Fortescue Metals Group

Westpac Banking Corp

National Australia Bank Ltd

QBE Insurance

Super Retail Group Ltd

International Shares (top 10)

Apple Inc

Microsoft Corp

Nvidia Corp

Reliance Steel and Aluminum Co

Costco Corp

Alphabet Inc

ASML Holding VN

Merck & Co

Amazon Com Inc

LPL Financial Holdings

View all holdings

Outlook and strategy

As at 31 March 2024


We do not design portfolios based on our own or anyone else’s short-term economic, market or geopolitical forecasts. However, our investment team and our external investment managers do seek to capitalise on opportunities that inevitably emerge during times of heightened market volatility.

At the end of March 2024, our DAA strategy slightly favoured shares and bonds over cash. Within DAA’s shares allocation, we preferred Japanese, UK and European shares over shares in the US and Australia. In fixed income, we increased our overweight positions in UK and US while remaining underweight in European and Japanese bonds.

The Socially Conscious Balanced option continues to hold a substantial allocation to unlisted asset classes, particularly real estate, infrastructure and private equity. We have diversified portfolios of these assets that we expect will deliver strong, long-term returns, while reducing our members’ exposure to share market volatility.

RIAA certified logo

Have confidence in an independently certified fund

Our Socially Conscious Balanced option is a certified responsible investment option.6

This option has been certified by the RIAA according to the strict operational and disclosure practices required under the Responsible Investment Certification Program. See the RIAA website for details.

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  1. Past performance isn't a reliable indicator of future performance. To show the performance of this option, we've used Sunsuper for life Socially Conscious Balanced option returns up to 28 February 2022, then Super Savings Socially Conscious Balanced option returns after that date.
  2. Fees refers to investment fees and costs and transaction costs.
  3. When reading the objectives and/or risks please also read the information in the PDS that applies to you.
  4. Tax generally doesn't apply to investment earnings in Retirement Income accounts.
  5. From 1 July 2024. For more information on these asset classes, strategic asset allocations, and allowable ranges, read the PDS that applies to you.
  6. RIAA’s RI Certification Symbol signifies that a product or service offers an investment style that takes into account environmental, social, governance or ethical considerations. The symbol also signifies that the Socially Conscious Balanced option adheres to the strict operational and disclosure practices required under the Responsible Investment Certification Program for the category of product. The certification symbol is a trademark of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). Detailed information about RIAA, the symbol, and the Socially Conscious Balanced option’s methodology, performance, and stock holdings can be found at www.responsiblereturns.com.au, together with details about other responsible investment products certified by RIAA. The Responsible Investment Certification Program does not constitute financial product advice. Neither the certification symbol nor RIAA recommends to any person that any financial product is a suitable investment or that returns are guaranteed. You should seek appropriate professional advice before making an investment decision. RIAA does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence.