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How Hostplus is responding to COVID-19

‘I want to reassure you, our members and contributing employers, that we are actively monitoring and managing these unprecedented circumstances to ensure that your hard-earned retirement savings continue to be well managed and in good hands.’  - David Elia, Chief Executive Officer

COVID-19 and your business

Visit page We have developed a dedicated Hostplus COVID-19 webpage for our contributing employers to access the latest information and resources to support their business and employees.

How long does the early release of super take?

Step 1: Check your details.

Log into Hostplus Member Online and check your account balance and that we have your up-to-date contact details. If you are a Choiceplus member, there may be extra steps you need to take.

Step 2: Submit your application.

Visit my.gov.au to submit your application. It’s important to ensure that your bank account details are correct on your application. The ATO will review your application and notify us within 4 business days. We will text you once we receive notification from the ATO.

Step 3: We review and process  your application.

We receive, check, process and pay your application, normally within 5 business days of receiving notification from the ATO. We will text you when we make the payment.

Step 4: Payment.

Your bank may take a further 3-5 days to process your payment. If your bank rejects payment, it can take up to 7 days for them to notify us, then a further 5 days for us to reprocess the payment.

Frequently asked questions about early access to super

The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in the 2019-20 financial year and up to a further $10,000 in the 2020-21 financial year. 

While superannuation helps people save for retirement, the Government recognises that for those significantly financially affected by the Coronavirus, accessing some of their superannuation today may outweigh the benefits of maintaining those savings until retirement.

Eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020.

Australian or New Zealand citizens or permanent residents:

To apply for early release, you must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:

  • you are unemployed;
  • you are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers (unless you are undertaking full-time study or are a new apprentice), parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance; or
  • on or after 1 January 2020:
    • you were made redundant;
    • your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more (including to zero); or
    • if you are a sole trader - your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.

Eligible temporary residents:

Eligible temporary residents will also be able to apply to access up to $10,000 of their super before 1 July 2020.

To apply for early release as a temporary resident, you must satisfy one or more of the following requirements:

  • you hold a student visa which you have held for 12 months or more and you are unable to meet immediate living expenses;
  • you are a temporary skilled work visa holder, your working hours have reduced to zero and you remain engaged with your employer; or
  • you are a temporary resident visa holder (excluding student or skilled worker visas) and you cannot meet immediate living expenses.

Members accessing their superannuation will not need to pay tax on amounts released through this scheme and the money withdrawn will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

Apply directly to the ATO through the myGov website: https://my.gov.au

The ATO is managing all applications and approval processes related to early access to your super, including your bank account details.

You need to confirm your bank account details and apply for early access to your super via the MyGov website at my.gov.au.  

Once Hostplus has been notified that the ATO has approved your application, we will aim to process your payment within 5 business days. Your funds will then be transferred to your nominated bank account.

Separate arrangements will apply if you are a member of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF). Further guidance will be available on the ATO website: www.ato.gov.au.

Timing

Applications can be submitted online through myGov:

  • until 30 June 2020 for the 2019–20 year
  • between 1 July 2020 and 24 September 2020, for the 2020–21 year.

If you are a Choiceplus member, you need to ensure that you have sufficient funds outside of your Choiceplus account to make the early release payment.

This is so that you can maintain the minimum required balance of $2,000 in one of your Hostplus premixed, sector, or individual manager investment options (as per the Choiceplus Investment Guide requirements).

Required action:

  1. Log into hostplus.com.au/memberonline and select and sell sufficient securities to satisfy the above non-Choiceplus investment option minimum balance requirement once your special early release payment has been made to you;
  2. Once the funds from the sale of these securities are cleared and available in your Choiceplus Cash Account you will need to transfer the required amount to another Hostplus investment option (see instructions below).

Please note, the standard timeframe for the proceeds of security sales in Choiceplus to be credited to your Choiceplus Cash Account is ‘sale date + 2 days’. Once these funds are available, you can execute an instruction to transfer cash from your Choiceplus Cash Account back to another Hostplus investment option. These funds will be available in your Hostplus investment option two business days from the date of your transfer instruction.

Once your Hostplus account has sufficient funds available, we will process your special early release payment within three business days.

Step-by-step guide to transferring funds from Choiceplus to other Hostplus investment options:

  1. Log into your Choiceplus account and navigate to Invest and select the grey box - Transfer Cash.
    The screen that loads first is for transferring funds onto the platform, so click Swap to change the screen to transfers out of Choiceplus into Investment Options.
  2. Nominate the amount to transfer out and confirm the request.
  3. Transfer requests received before 4.00pm AEST/AEDT are processed daily and are effective on the second national business day.
  4. Transfers out of Choiceplus will be invested according to your recorded future contribution strategy. 

Please allow up to 14 business days from the time you submit your application to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to the time you receive your funds to your nominated bank account.

After you have submitted your application with the ATO, you’ll receive an SMS or email from the ATO confirming that you have been approved for early access. The ATO will notify Hostplus within 4-5 working days, advising of the approved amount and the bank account to be used for electronic transfer.

Hostplus will process this withdrawal and initiate the bank transfer within 5 working days. However, this time may increase where we need to contact you to clarify information. You will receive an SMS from Hostplus to the mobile number listed on your Member Online account confirming the transfer to your bank account has been initiated. Please ensure we have your current mobile number. Once you have received Hostplus’ payment SMS, your bank can advise when this payment will be available in your nominated account.

If you are experiencing a delay in your payment, please be assured we are working hard to ensure your money reaches you safely and securely. It’s important to understand that we aim to process payments within five working days of receiving approval of the application from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

The majority of applications will be processed within five working days. However, there are a number of reasons an application may be delayed. One of the main reasons is if there are inconsistencies in the application that require further checks for fraud. While most applications will ultimately pass these fraud checks, they are critical in ensuring that payments are processed securely. To date, our checks have protected a number of members’ accounts from fraudulent attempts.

Here are some steps you can take to help ensure your payment gets processed quickly:

  • Check that we have your correct mobile phone number. You can do this by logging into member online and selecting Personal details under the Member tab of the main menu.
  • Check that the ATO has your correct bank account details. You can do this by logging into your myGov account.
  • If you’re a Choiceplus member, please ensure that you have sufficient funds outside of your Choiceplus account to make the early release payment. Please click here for further information on steps you need to take.

There are also other reasons that an application may exceed the five-day turn-around, which include:

  • A discrepancy in the super balance displayed by the ATO compared to the actual balance in your Hostplus super account (i.e. the ATO file is not as current as our records).
  • Incorrect or inconsistent personal details on the application.

We understand it can be very frustrating to experience any delay in payment and we really appreciate your patience while we work through the more than 140,000 requests we have received since the early release scheme started. So far we have successfully paid 95% of these claims within five days. We have added additional staff to process applications as quickly as possible and they are working increased hours to help our members through this difficult time.

 

When you submit your application through My.Gov.au, it’s important to ensure that your BSB number and bank account number are both  correct on your application.

If you have entered incorrect bank account details on your MyGov application, your bank will reject the payment.

If this happens, your bank may take up to 7 business days to notify Hostplus that the payment has been rejected. Once we receive that notification, we need to contact you to verify your bank account details before we can process your payment again, which can take up to 5 business days. Your bank may then take a further 3-5 business days to process the payment.

Bank notifies Hostplus about rejection - We contact you - Payment

Step 1: If your bank rejects your payment, they may take up to 7 business days to notify Hostplus
Step 2: Once we’ve been notified by your bank, we will contact you to verify your bank account details so we can process your payment again, which can take up to 5 business days
Step 3: Your bank may then take a further 3-5 business days to process the payment.

A snapshot of our Early Release of Super progress

If you’re experiencing financial hardship as a result of loss of income caused by or related to COVID-19, there are a number of options available to you to help ease the financial burden during these challenging times.

The following are some points to think about and act on as applicable to assist you manage and hopefully alleviate your current financial circumstances:

  • Most banks have introduced measures to defer mortgage repayments for six months for homeowners who are experiencing hardship. Speak to your bank to find out if you qualify for mortgage relief.
  • Similarly, utility providers (electricity, gas, water, telephone, etc) are also likely to be able to offer short-term assistance to manage financial hardship measures that will assist their customers. You should also ask whether there is special assistance available for those impacted by COVID-19.
  • Like utility providers, many credit card providers can offer short-term assistance to people experiencing financial difficulties. Be sure to ask about any specific COVID-19 assistance measures.

You may also be eligible for financial assistance, financial counselling or access to some simple tools to help you plan for future:

  • Centrelink eligibility for certain income support payments has been temporarily widened and a new time-limited Coronavirus supplement payment introduced, with many people including students eligible for an additional $550 per fortnight. Apply at myGov today or visit Services Australia to learn more about your entitlements.  
  • The National Debt Helpline provides a wide range of information about ways to manage debt and offers a free financial counselling service.
  • Moneysmart, the government resource can help you understand and manage your finances via range of tools including easy budget trackers.

But be especially cautious of so-called ‘payday’ lenders. It pays to be aware that many of these types of loans are offered at interest rates well above those offered by more credible lenders and may include significant additional costs as well as onerous penalties for late or missed payments.

According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) Moneysmart website, a $2,000 payday loan today could cost as much as $3,360 even if you paid it back within a year and did not incur any penalties. 

When considering whether to make an application to the ATO for an early release of superannuation under the current special arrangements, you should first carefully consider and weigh-up that action versus the longer-term implications to your retirement savings that such a withdrawal may have.

While some members will undoubtedly benefit from a financial boost today, you need to also consider the potential cost to your future retirement savings. To calculate the potential impact on your retirement savings, you can use Moneysmart’s Super withdrawal estimator

Hostplus fully supports the Federal Government’s initiative to provide an early access arrangement for those in most need to do so, however we strongly encourage you to also fully explore all the hardship-related options that might be available to you, including Government support such as Centrelink benefits and payments. You should do so bearing in mind your individual circumstances, including your long-term financial situation, objectives and needs.

On joining Hostplus, eligible members receive a default level of Death and Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance.

Death insurance protects your loved ones if you die and provides financial peace of mind during a difficult time. TPD insurance provides support in the event of an accident or illness which prevents you from ever returning to work.

We encourage all members to pay particular attention to the impact an early withdrawal may have on their insurance cover. Please note that where an account balance reaches $0 due to a full withdrawal of retirement savings, the member’s account will be closed and any insurance cover will cease.  

If Hostplus subsequently receive a contribution from a registered Hostplus employer after the member’s account has been closed, this may result in the creation of a new Hostplus account (and new member number) in the member's name. Under the Putting Members’ Interests First legislation, new memberships may not include the same insurance arrangements as your previous Hostplus account.

On and from 1 April 2020 super funds cannot provide automatic default insurance cover to any new members with balances less than $6,000 and/or under the age of 25, unless an exception (such as the 'dangerous occupations exception' or ‘employer-sponsor contribution exception’) applies or the fund receives an election from the member to receive default or tailored insurance cover.

Members who wish to opt-in to insurance cover, despite being under age 25 or with a balance below $6,000, can do so on their new account via their Member Online. In some cases, this may be restricted cover.  For more information relating to restricted cover please refer to our Product Disclosure Statement.

Insurance cover may also cease on a member's account where there are insufficient funds to pay for premiums and/or where a contribution has not been received for 16 months or more. If your cover ceases on or after 1 April 2020, as a result of insufficient funds in your account or because it has been inactive for 16 consecutive months, and we receive a contribution or rollover for you at any time after your insurance ceases , your cover will recommence from the Recommencement Date at the default cover level. In some cases, this may be restricted cover.  For more information relating to restricted cover please refer to our PDS.

Untitled Document

If as a result of you having made a successful Early Release application your account balance has been reduced to $0, your account will be closed, and you will also no longer be a member of Hostplus.

What happens once my account is closed?

Once we close your account any death, total and permanent disability or salary continuance insurance cover associated with your account will cease. For more information about impacts on your insurance please refer to “Consider your insurance cover”.

If your account is closed Hostplus will send you an Exit Statement in the post which outlines your final transactions and confirms the account closure. Additionally, you will no longer be able to access details of your closed account information via Member Online. 

What happens if a new account is created for me?

If we receive a superannuation contribution from a registered Hostplus employer on your behalf after your account has been closed, Hostplus set up a new account in your name and issue you with a new member number.

We will notify you about your new account and provide you with a Welcome Pack in the post. Your Welcome Pack will include details of your new account, including your new member number.

What do I do if I receive a Welcome Pack?

If you have received a Welcome Pack from Hostplus it means we have set up a new super account in your name.  Even if you were recently, or at any time in the past, a Hostplus member you should review your Welcome Pack and consider a few key actions to make the most of your new account. Login to Member Online or follow the links below for more information.

  1. Consider your insurance cover requirements
  2. Consider your investment choices
  3. Nominate a beneficiary

Can I, or my employer, who uses a different default super fund, still have my super contributions  made to Hostplus?

Yes! You can create a new account quickly and easily online. You’ll be given an opportunity to consider your insurance and investment options as part of the application process.

Be sure to provide your new member number to your employer using our fund nomination form.


Further information

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Hostplus logo
 
 

New financial year update

 

Dear member,

The start of a new financial year is traditionally a great time to take stock of your finances and to develop a plan for the coming year. But we understand that during these uncertain times, thinking about your super might not be the first thing on your mind.

At Hostplus, we want to reassure you that even when you’re not focusing on your super, we are. Every single day. And no matter what your financial position, a little help to make the most of what you’ve got now, can go a long way in the future.

Organising a discussion with one of our licenced Superannuation Advisers or Financial Planners can provide some much-needed guidance, support and advice. You can arrange a discussion with a financial planner employed by Hostplus* through the contact a Financial Planner form on our website.

And while you’re on our website, we encourage you to visit our COVID-19 webpage which contains useful information about financial assistance options available to you in light of changes brought about by the COVID-19 crisis. You can also get a lot of good information and tips on ASIC’s Moneysmart website.

 
     
 

Changes to our investment mix

We routinely review our investment strategy and long-term strategic asset allocation settings to ensure we are well-placed to continue delivering long-term results for our members. Following our most recent review, we have made some changes to the strategic asset allocation within our default Balanced (MySuper) investment option.

  Effective 19 June 2020, we've increased the Balanced option’s strategic allocation to the ‘Cash’ asset class from 0% to 5%, while reducing the long-term allocation to the ‘Alternatives’ asset class from 8% to 5%, and the ‘Equities’ asset class from 44% to 42%.

For further information on these changes, please read the updated Product Disclosure Statement on our website

 
     
     
 

Early release of superannuation scheme

If you have been financially affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible to access some of your superannuation early. Eligible members can apply to the Australian Taxation Office, through the myGov website, for up to $10,000 between 1 July and 24 September 2020.

  We want to ensure our members are supported through this current COVID-19 crisis period and we’ve added resources and have streamlined our processes to assist in making early release payments to members as soon as possible, and to make it easier to contact us during this period if needed.

If you’re considering applying for an early release payment from your super, there are some simple steps you can take to help us get your payment to you quickly. To find out more, please visit our website for information on the application process, eligibility, timeframes for payment, and much more.

 
 

We’ll continue to be in touch over the coming weeks with more information on how we’re continuing to manage your super, so you’re set up for whatever the future holds.

Kind regards,

Hostplus

 
     
  Issued by Host-Plus Pty Limited ABN 79 008 634 704, AFSL 244392 as trustee for the Hostplus Superannuation Fund (the Fund) ABN 68 657 495 890, MySuper No 68 657 495 890 198. This information is general advice only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider if this information is appropriate for you in light of your circumstances before acting on it. Please read the relevant Hostplus Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), available at www.hostplus.com.au before making a decision about Hostplus.

*Hostplus Superannuation Advice Consultants are Authorised Representatives of Link Advice Pty Ltd ABN 36 105 811 836, ASFL 258145 and facilitate the provision of limited personal advice about Hostplus products to Hostplus members through Super Adviser.  Please call 1300 734 007 to obtain a Link Advice Financial Services Guide. Link Advice is responsible for any advice obtained through Super Adviser. Hostplus has engaged Industry Fund Services Limited (IFS) ABN 54 007 016 195, AFSL 232514 to facilitate the provision of personal financial advice to members of Hostplus. Advice is provided by financial planners who are Authorised Representatives of IFS. Fees may apply. Further information about the cost of advice is set out in the relevant IFS Financial Services Guide, a copy of which is available from your financial planner.
 
     

Due to the rapidly changing events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a heightened risk that scammers and fraudsters will seek to take advantage of these occasions to exploit people’s vulnerabilities, confusion and anxiousness to attempt to embezzle and steal from Australians.

At these times, and especially under circumstances when people may be considering making application to withdraw some of their superannuation under current special early release provisions, increased levels of watchfulness and scrutiny need to be applied by everyone.

Hostplus has a range of controls and measures designed to protect your super. But there are also some important steps you can take to ensure your super stays safe now and into the future.

The government has announced that its early super access scheme will not commence receiving applications via the Australian Tax Office’s (ATO) Mygov portal until 20 April 2020. There is an increased risk in the lead-up and during this period that scammers may attempt to either assist you in an application or may pretend to be the ATO itself and seek personal details, including your bank account and superannuation fund details.  If you are so contacted, receive a suspicious email or phone call relating to this, odds are it is unlikely to be genuine and instead someone trying to steal your personal details and your super.

What to look out for:

  • Being charged for unnecessary services that you didn’t ask for or that we didn’t tell you about.
  • Suspicious calls from unknown persons claiming to be a financial adviser or investment manager trying to obtain your personal information over the phone or email.
  • Any unsolicited advice from a third party (via phone or email) that is not your super fund.
  • Being pressured into taking action over the phone; and
  • Investment opportunities that promise a high return with little or no risk during this time.

What you can do:

  • Always log into your Hostplus account through the Hostplus website at hostplus.com.au, ensure all your details are up-to-date and reset your password if necessary.
  • Never give out your super account or bank account information, including your tax file number to any unknown caller. If you need to speak to us, call us directly.

If you think a scammer has contacted you:

  • You should also report them to the ACCC via the report a scam page. For tax related fraud, contact the ATO (13 10 20) or the financial regulator, ASIC (1300 300 630).
If you think a scammer has your details, change your myGov details and all your passwords and PINs as soon as possible.

For the financial year to date (1 July 2019 to 31 March 2020), the Hostplus default Balanced option has fallen by 8.8% in value. While this short-term performance is understandably unsettling for members, our core investment philosophy at Hostplus is to take a long-term approach consistent with the objectives and fundamental purpose of superannuation.

The Fund’s performance over longer periods is excellent. The default Balanced option has returned 5.47% p.a. over five years, 7.76% p.a. over seven years, 7.53% p.a. over ten years and 6.91% p.a. over twenty years, to 31 March 2020, net of investment fees.

While our strong historical performance is of course not a guarantee of future performance, it is instructive of the success of the Fund’s long-term investment strategy in recovering from prior periods of market volatility. Our investment portfolios are structured to seek to provide appropriate resilience and to help endure the unpredictability and instability currently being experienced in world investment markets.

If you have any concerns or are experiencing financial difficulty, we encourage all members to seek independent financial advice tailored to their specific objectives, financial circumstances and needs.

Key factors contributing to recent performance

Since the end of February ‘20, financial markets around the world have experienced significant falls. Like most well diversified funds, Hostplus has investments across many diversified domestic and international markets. As a result, the value of the Fund’s collective investments has been adversely affected.  

While the current downturn is certainly more severe than prior periods of volatility over the last decade, the present conditions are not entirely unexpected. Markets, by their nature, are prone to fluctuations and volatility. The Fund’s investment strategy relies to some degree on these forces operating in investment markets.

During March, and as is the case routinely, Hostplus considered the impact of the broader investment market and macro-economic circumstances in assessing and ensuring the underlying value of its assets were reflective of these environments and conditions. This was especially so for the Fund’s unlisted asset portfolios, which are not subject to the same day-to-day reactions and volatility of listed markets.

With this in mind, Hostplus worked closely with its investment managers and its asset consultant to appropriately value these unlisted assets and to ensure that investment unit prices reflect these circumstances in the best interests of all members.

As a result, Hostplus devalued assets within its Property and Infrastructure portfolios by a range of 7.5-10%, depending on the individual investment and the age of its most recent independent valuation. The Fund also devalued, for similar considerations and prudence, its Private Equity and Venture Capital investments by 15% on average.

These revaluations have already been included in the Fund’s unit pricing and reflected in members’ account balances.

Hostplus will continue to actively monitor and assess investment markets closely to ensure the pricing of our unlisted assets remains appropriate for the circumstances as they evolve and to ensure that all assets’ values reflect ‘fair value’ across all members’ balances.

Hostplus’ default Balanced option also has a significant allocation to what are known as growth assets. Growth assets, such as shares, typically perform better over the long term, but as we have witnessed recently, can be more volatile in the short term. This recent decline in the value of growth assets is another reason for the negative short-term investment performance of the default Balanced option.

One of the reasons we are able to invest in growth assets is that, on average, our members are relatively young compared to most other Industry SuperFunds. This means that they have a longer time frame to invest their money before reaching retirement.

During times like this, long-term performance should continue to be of critical importance to members. Hostplus is confident that our continued exposure to unlisted assets, and the longer-than-average investment horizons of our members, will see us well positioned to take advantage of the market recovery, helping members stay on track with their retirement goals.

Hidden impact of switching

We recognise that members may feel an understandable desire to protect their retirement savings from investment losses in falling or fallen markets, by switching investments to cash or similar defensive assets during periods of uncertainty and volatility.

We would stress, however, that subject to each member’s own individual circumstances, financial objectives and needs, switching from a broadly balanced investment option, or a growth orientated one held for many years, if not decades, until retirement, to cash should be treated with caution.

Individual members who switch to cash and thereby crystallise their otherwise interim losses during times of depressed unit prices often inevitably miss out on compounding growth of a broader range of diversified assets over the years to retirement. This opportunity cost may prove to be extremely high, so we caution and encourage every member to seek individual financial advice and consider their own circumstances before making such a decision.

Hostplus, like many major and well-diversified superannuation funds, invests in a wide range of assets which are both listed (e.g. securities held in public investment markets like stock exchanges); and unlisted, such as property, infrastructure (e.g. roads, airports, utilities and toll roads), private equity and venture capital (e.g. start-ups or developing private companies).

Hostplus has a long track record of successful unlisted asset investment. These assets have played an integral role in achieving long-term investment outcomes and objectives, and serving members’ best interests. Whilst this history is of course not a guarantee of future performance, we remain confident that our strategic and considered investment in unlisted investments across key sectors of our economy will provide a strong and reliable basis for future growth in the long-term. 

During times of heightened listed market volatility, our investment in unlisted assets has played an important stabilising and diversification role in our core portfolios.

However, given that unlisted assets are not as ‘liquid’ as some other asset classes and are not listed or traded openly on listed markets in the same way as shares or bonds, they are valued using different valuation methodologies and practices compared to listed assets.

These valuations are typically carried out by independent valuers and undertaken on a regular basis.

COVID-19 Impact

While the full macro-economic impact of COVID-19 will not be fully understood for some time, it’s clear that certain infrastructure and property assets such as airports, toll roads, and shopping centres have been materially affected by the current crisis.

As a result, and taken as a broad category of assets, Hostplus’ unlisted investments would expectantly and realistically experience lower valuations in the current climate than they would ordinarily have had prior to the emergence of COVID-19 a few short months ago.

With this in mind, Hostplus has worked closely with its investment managers and its asset consultant to determine appropriate impacts on the valuations of these unlisted assets so as to ensure that these assets are measured and appropriate for the current circumstances. This in turn ensures that our investment unit prices appropriately reflect these circumstances in the best interests of all members.

As such, Hostplus has devalued assets within its Property and Infrastructure portfolios by a range of 7.5-10%, depending on the individual investment and the age of its most recent independent valuation. In a similar vein, Hostplus’ Private Equity and Venture Capital investments have also been devalued, for similar considerations and prudence, by 15% on average.

Asset devaluations are being experienced across all sectors of the economy. However, the current decreases in the valuations of Hostplus’ unlisted asset investments are, based on our analysis, less extreme compared to the current heightened volatility being experienced in listed markets. It is that long-term price stability which is a key positive attribute of our strategic investment in unlisted assets.

These revaluations have already been included in the Fund’s unit pricing and are reflected in members’ account balances.

Long term assets for long term investors

Hostplus, alongside its professional asset managers and asset consultant, will continue to monitor investment markets closely to ensure the pricing of our unlisted assets remain appropriate for the circumstances as they evolve and to ensure that all assets’ values reflect ‘fair value’ across all member balances.

We recognise that members may feel an understandable desire to protect their retirement savings from investment losses in falling or fallen markets, by switching investments to cash or similar defensive assets during periods of uncertainly and volatility.

We also understand that many of our members have justifiable concerns regarding the ongoing impacts that these matters may have on their superannuation and pension balances.

It’s important to remember that historically those members who have refrained from switching between investment options during periods of decline in investment markets, both listed and unlisted, have been better positioned to rebuild their account balances once markets rebound. Of course, this a general proposition which does not take into account each member’s individual financial objectives, situation and needs.

So, before you make any decision about your superannuation or pension assets, we caution and encourage every member to seek individual financial advice and consider their own circumstances and financial objectives.

Federal  Parliament passes JobKeeper legislation

Economic Stimulus Update 

The Federal Government’s recently announced $130 billion ‘JobKeeper’ payment, to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), has now been enacted.

Available to eligible businesses, charities and not-for-profits which have experienced specific reductions in turnover as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the payment can be used to support income payments to recently stood-down as well as continuing staff. This is to help eligible employers remain connected to their employees and assist businesses to resume quickly once the COVID-19 crisis is over.

The Government estimates that around 6 million workers may receive income support through their employer as a result of the JobKeeper scheme.

The $1,500 per eligible employee, per fortnight payment will be made available for full time and part time employees who were employed as at 1 March 2020 and for casual employees who have been employed on a regular and systematic basis for the previous 12 months.

The payment will also be available to eligible sole traders. 

Payments will be distributed to employers by the ATO, with further distribution to workers facilitated through existing payroll infrastructure. It is understood that businesses are to receive payments from May 2020, backdated to 30 March 2020 and this support will continue for up to six months.

More information on the JobKeeper Payment, including eligibility criteria can be found via the Treasury coronavirus hub.

In March 2020 the Federal Government announced the temporary reduction in the superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for Account-Based pensions (ABP) and Transition to Retirement (TTR) pensions. This step was taken to assist retirees whose account balances may have been impacted by the recent investment market downturn and volatility due to the coronavirus crisis.

These reductions in the minimum pension drawdown rates have been set at half the standard rates for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years. The changes mean that members who do not wish to draw more than the new revised minimum annual limits will not be required to do so.

The following reduced minimum draw-down rates will be applicable to both ABP’s and TTR pension accounts:

Age

Default minimum
draw-down rates

Reduced minimum
draw-down rates

Under 65

4%

2%

65-74

5%

2.5%

75-79

6%

3%

80-84

7%

3.5%

85-89

9%

4.5%

90-94

11%

5.5%

95+

14%

7%

 

The following information applies to members who have elected to receive their Hostplus pension payments in line with the minimum government requirements.

For the financial year commencing 1 July 2020, your default payment amount will automatically be set at the temporary reduced rate and you will receive half the amount you would normally receive, unless you instruct us to change your payment amount.

All other pension members will continue to receive their Hostplus pension payments in line with their current instructions. If you would like to adjust your pension payment amounts, you can do so via Pension Online.

Review your Pension payment amount now

If you need to increase or decrease the amount or frequency of your Pension payments, you need to do so now, for any change to be effective from your first payment date for the 2020-21 financial year.  Importantly, changes to payments must be made 5 business days before the next payment date to take effect. 

For members receiving a payment on the 3rd July, please note if you would like to make a change to your minimum payment amount this will come into effect on your next scheduled payment.

You can still make any required changes for future pension payments after the first payment date in 2020-21. Please see below for details on how you can make this change. 

How to change your payment amount.

Members can change their payment limits and annual or instalment amount using the ‘change payments’ function under ‘My Account’ in their Pension Online account. Members will need to submit the change after clicking ‘preview’ on the change payment page.  Importantly, changes to payments must be made 5 business days before the next payment date to take effect. 

Further information

Please see attached Treasury factsheet that contains case studies and further information about these pension drawdown changes to assist retirees.

Timing

The updated minimum drawdown rates were announced on Sunday 22 March 2020 and came into immediate effect.  

Your insurance may help if you can’t work due to injury or illness

Hostplus offers and provides Salary Continuance insurance, which may help to protect your income if you temporarily can’t work because of illness or injury by providing regular monthly payments to contribute towards your living expenses.

If you have Salary Continuance insurance, and you are temporarily unable to work due to contracting COVID-19 or another illness or injury that would temporarily prevent you from working and earning an income, you may be eligible to claim a short-term regular payment to help meet your daily costs and expenses. To learn more, or review your existing insurance arrangements, login to Hostplus Member Online.

If you have existing Salary Continuance cover, and meet the following criteria, you may be able to make a claim:

  • solely as a result of injury or illness, you are incapable of performing one or more of the duties of your regular occupation necessary to produce income;
  • you are not engaging in any work, for wages or profit; and
  • you are under the care of a medical practitioner and following treatment recommended by a medical practitioner.

You can submit a claim at any time. However, payments will only occur once you have been assessed by the insurer as meeting all eligibility criteria, including satisfying your waiting period (30, 60 or 90 days).

Please note, Salary Continuance insurance does not provide coverage against job-loss (temporary or otherwise), redundancy or incidences of being ‘stood down’. However, if you are unemployed or have been stood down under the Fair Work Act and subsequently suffer an injury or illness, you may still be eligible to make a Salary Continuance claim if you meet the criteria outlined above.

If you have been stood down under the Fair Work Act and considered by MetLife to be on leave without pay (LWOP), MetLife will disregard the current policy terms which require benefits to commence at the end of the LWOP period. Instead, if you are eligible for a salary continuance benefit, MetLife will commence paying benefits to you at the end of the relevant waiting period.

It is important to be aware that the salary continuance amount that you can claim may be lower than your current cover amount as it is based on your income amount for the 12 months prior to the illness or injury. If you are eligible to receive the Government JobKeeper Payment, MetLife will exclude that payment from any benefit offsets that would usually apply for new and existing claims in progress.

If you fall ill, are injured, or suffer a disability which prevents you from ever returning to work you may be eligible for a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) benefit.

Any entitlement to a TPD benefit will be assessed on the basis of whether you meet the below criteria, using the applicable disability definition based on your working arrangements as at 11 March 2020.

If you:

  • were working in your normal capacity on 11 March 2020 (when the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus to be a global pandemic),
  • have had reduced working hours or lost your job due to COVID-19 since 11 March 2020,
  • become disabled as a result of an illness or injury between 11 March 2020 and 27 September 2020 inclusive,
  • have maintained your TPD cover at the time you become totally and permanently disabled, and
  • lodged your completed claim form on or before 1 January 2021.

To learn more, or review your existing insurance arrangements, login to Hostplus Member Online. If you are eligible to make a claim please call us on 1300 803 745. Our dedicated claims team are here to help you through the process. 

Employer-paid insurance premiums

Some employers make specific arrangements with Hostplus to pay their employees' insurance premiums directly to Hostplus.

Some members, known as “Low Balance Members ”, may need to take additional action to ensure their insurance cover continues if they are stood down or cease to be employed.

A Low Balance Member is a member whose account did not have a balance of at least $6,000 at any time between 1 November 2019 and 31 March 2020, and for new members joining Hostplus on or after 1 April 2020, since the date they became a member.

Employers may cease paying insurance premiums for employees who have been stood down or ceased employment with that employer. If you were or are a Low Balance Member, and your employer stops paying insurance premiums for you, any insurance cover you have may cease unless you have made an election to maintain it.

Refer to section 8.16.28 of the Hostplus PDS for a more detailed definition of a Low Balance Member.

Members who wish to change or manage their cover, including by requesting a decrease or increase in their level of insurance or cancellation of their insurance, can do so through Hostplus Member Online.   

The information in this update is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation and needs. You should consider if this information is appropriate for you in light of your circumstances before making a decision.

Financial Advice for Members

We understand the COVID-19 pandemic and related business and social disruption has led to a deal of anxiousness, and in some cases significant financial stress, for some Hostplus members. And while the longer-term need to plan for retirement is important, we recognise that for some people there are more immediate needs and requirements.

Hostplus Superannuation Advisers licensed by Link Advice Pty Ltd and Hostplus Financial Planners licensed by Industry Fund Services Ltd are here to help you. The experienced team can provide timely, personal, advice to help members with guidance and support, whether it is an immediate, short-term cashflow or budgeting need, or a longer-term objective, including:

  • budgeting advice including fixed vs flexible expenses
  • options for deferral or temporary relief, including loans and utilities
  • Services Australia (Centrelink) eligibility, including JobKeeper, JobSeeker benefits
  • Financial product advice recommendations, including eligibility for special COVID-19 related early access to super.

Contact a Hostplus Superannuation Adviser or Financial Planner

To arrange a discussion with a Superannuation Adviser or Financial Planner, please complete the Contact a Financial Planner form and select the ‘COVID 19 cash flow assistance’ option for the ‘How can we help you?’ question.   

Consider the relevant Hostplus Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) available at hostplus.com.au and your objectives, financial situation and needs, which are not accounted for in this information, before deciding if Hostplus is appropriate for you. Hostplus has engaged Industry Fund Services Limited (IFS) ABN 54 007 016 195, AFSL 232514 to facilitate the provision of personal financial advice to members of Hostplus. Advice is provided by financial planners who are Authorised Representatives of IFS. Fees may apply. Further information about the cost of advice is set out in the relevant IFS Financial Services Guide, a copy of which is available from your financial planner.

Hostplus Superannuation Advice Consultants are Authorised Representatives of Link Advice Pty Ltd ABN 36 105 811 836, ASFL 258145 and facilitate the provision of limited personal advice about Hostplus products to Hostplus members through Super Adviser.  Please call 1300 734 007 to obtain a Link Advice Financial Services Guide. Link Advice is responsible for any advice obtained through Super Adviser.

We're here for you

We are, literally, all in this together.  And we will continue to support our members, our contributing employers, our stakeholders and our community, in and through this challenging period.

We have made considerable changes to the way in which we are operating during these unprecedented times, so that we can continue to serve your needs to the high standard that you rightfully expect. Understandably, however, we are currently managing a much greater volume of member enquiries than normal and as such you may experience greater wait times for phone-based assistance.

With this in mind, we encourage you to make non-urgent enquiries via other channels, such as our online enquiry form. We also ask our members to consider self-service options for basic account management inquiries and actions, such as address updates, via Hostplus Member Online and Hostplus Pension Online

Be sure to check back here for regular updates as they unfold. 

The information in this update is general in nature. Consider your own objectives, financial situation and needs, which are not accounted for, before making a decision.

 


Tip: You can find your member number on your most recent member statement or electronic statement email