Workers delay retirement until super funds rebound

Australia's Superannuation industry lost $27 billion in the year to March 31, 2003, with a fall of $9 billion in the first three months of this year. The plunge was caused by a drop in world share markets but is now being turned around by a stronger performance since April.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority released its statistics for the March 2003 quarter on July 21. The data show that fewer people took their superannuation benefits in the quarter, which may indicate they are waiting for the markets' rebound.
APRA's statistics also show that in the March 2003 quarter, contributions made by workers fell 12 per cent compared with the December 2002 quarter, while employer contributions rose. The figures indicate also that super funds made major shifts in their investment practices. Funds channelled into low-risk areas of cash investments increased by 3 per cent and assets invested in riskier overseas markets fell by 6.6 per cent.