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Australian Ethical

Australian Ethical

4.4 from 96 reviews

A super fund that feels good!!!

A super fund that is clear and honest in it's goals and fees. Is very easy to change your investment options and provides the tools through it's website to make doing so easy and hassle free.
I joined in 2015 and unfortunately have only had minimal work since then, yet my investment has increased by 49.4053% with the contributions I have been able to make, and by 42.4089% excluding my contributions. That's over 10% per annum excluding contributions!!! This is a much better return than I ever received with the industry super funds I have been with through most of my 22 year career so far.
Despite the bad publicity surrounding these sort of super funds, ETHICAL investment can and does provide good returns, while helping people and our environment.
An awesome SUPER fund!!!

Customer Service
Insurance Options

Mismanagement at customer expense

Last year Australian Ethical changed its fund manager. Despite the availability of technical solutions that would have prevented the need, it decided to change every members membership number. This resulted in the predictable confusion, inability to access fund information, and repeated phone calls to resolve problems during the changeover period. The worst was, however, yet to come. Due to each member now having an old and a new membership number, when AE reported contributions to the ATO it double reported member contributions leading to my (and no doubt many other members) receiving letters from the ATO demanding money with menaces as it appearing that we were over cap. More calls. More time wasted. To compound the error I was advised by AE to ignore the letters from the ATO. When I ignored their advice and contacted ATO, the ATO advised that had I not contacted them my file would have been sent to a debt recovery agent. Thus had I followed AEs advice I would have ended up with an adverse credit rating. All of this could and should have been anticipated by a competent project manager. That it was not and that AE thought it was OK to outsource the problem to their clients tells us what we need to know about AEs management competence. Their response to a formal complaint was effectively to blame the ATO even though the error was clearly AEs. I suggest you look elsewhere for an ethical fund. I currently am.

Customer Service
Insurance Options
Income Protection

Australian Unethical Super

Early in 2018 I found out that I was getting charged adviser fees when I have never received or requested any financial advice from Australian Ethical or any other company. When I complained, AE assured me I had authorized deductions some time ago however they were never able to provide any evidence of this 'authorisation'. Despite my complaint they continued to deduct adviser fees on a monthly basis while I still did not receive any service. After a number of calls over +6 months and lodging a complaint they washed their hands and sent me contact details of a financial advisor for me to liaise with to get a refund!!!
My advice to anyone considering joining this super fund is stay away!!!

1 comment
Hi Vlad We're sorry you've had this experience. A member from our team is getting in touch with you today with a resolution to this.

The customer service is really terrible, so disappointed

I wanted to do the right thing and change to an ethical fund, but in the process of trying to transfer my account and my insurance I was just met with really bad and condescending customer service. They simply don't care about their customers. I have changed my husband into this fund and made our business fund of choice, but will now change it all over again to a different fund, probably future super which was the other one I was considering. I asked to put in a complain and the person advised me that they will get back to me in 30 days and I can expect up to 90 days for the resolution. I suppose that says a lot about the company.

1 comment
Hi Annie We're really sorry to hear about your bad experience. We want to look into this for you immediately. Could you please email us your full name to enquiries@australianethical.com.au or call our Client Services team on 1800 021 227. Thanks, Australian Ethical team

Time For A good Change

After my review on Ethical Super 3 years ago, am happy to report that I will soon be joining Ethical Super. Their fees are now much much lower. Even thought the super I am in now is good, I prefer to support Ethical Super, and still get good returns. You live and learn.

2 comments
We're glad to hear. We look forward to having you as a member.Thank you. I will be under my other name and not Ginger but rest assure I will join, as my financial adviser told me you will 100% cover ALL my concerns regarding animals and the environment. I was also surprised that your fee is way down lower than I thought it would be.

What about AMP?

It hasn’t escaped my attention that AE holds investments in AMP and other institutions being investigated by the Royal Commission. I understand that I pay higher fees for a more rigorous screening process. Two questions arise:
1. How effective is the screening if we are investing in so called ethical company’s that admit to breaking the law and behaving unethically towards regulators and customers.
2. How effective is the so called advocacy strategy of buying shares in these big unethical banks to influence behaviour as a shareholder? No very effective it would seem.
I want to believe in AE approach but this undermines my confidence.

3 comments
Hi Nick, thanks for your question. By applying our Ethical Charter, which has guided investment decisions for more than 30-years, and its positive and negative screening process, we have decided AMP’s actions are in breach of its ethical standards and therefore have decided to divest. We initially deemed AMP an acceptable investment because expert financial advice is assessed as positive under our Ethical Charter. Many people benefit greatly from saving and investment advice to increase their financial well-being and security, now and into the future. Of course, bad financial advice can have devastating consequences, as has been revealed many times both before and during the Royal Commission. Read about our decision to divest here: https://www.australianethical.com.au/news/divesting-amp-failing-ethical-investment-standards/ The Banking Royal Commission is raising deep questions about the integrity of many of Australia's financial institutions. We currently invest selectively in banks. While we invest in some of the companies appearing before the Commission, there are others which we have never invested in because our ethical research has assessed that they are not aligned with our Ethical Charter. Of the Big 4, we currently invest in Westpac and NAB, but not in CBA and ANZ. We are monitoring the serious misconduct being reported, and are contacting key companies as well as organisations which are supporting customers who have been harmed. This is incorporated into our company reviews and our engagement with companies. As well as the Royal Commission evidence, we also take into account new information from APRA, ASIC and others. In many cases, we expect to complete our review once the Commission's public hearings have concluded and we are able to take into account all the evidence presented as well as Commissioner Hayne's insights, findings and recommendations. But we will act more quickly to exclude companies if there is already sufficient information now to make a comprehensive and considered judgement. As a background, our approach to the ethical assessment of banks is summarised at https://www.australianethical.com.au/news/why-do-we-invest-in-banks/. We already exclude many local and international banks and other financial services companies under this approach. Guided by our Australian Ethical Charter, we do not invest in anything that is unnecessarily harmful to people, animals, society and the environment. Our exclusions include sectors like tobacco gambling, live export, fossil fuels, nuclear technologies and companies that disregard human rights. We also list all the companies we invest in. You can view them here: https://www.australianethical.com.au/companies-we-invest-in/ If this sounds like an approach which opens the floodgates to all sorts of questionable companies, bear in mind that we assess only about one third of the ASX top 200 companies to be acceptable for investment under our Charter. In regards to our advocacy approach, we engage with companies we invest in when we’re concerned about something they’re doing. For example, in December 2016 we pressed Westpac to rule out support for the proposed Adani Carmichael mine to publicly demonstrate the integrity of the bank’s climate commitments. Since then, Westpac’s 2020 climate action plan rules out lending to the Carmichael mine. Unsatisfactory outcomes from our engagement can often lead to us divesting from certain companies. Companies we have divested from include; Tassal (https://www.australianethical.com.au/news/divesting-from-tassal/), and Petratherm, who shifted the focus of its business from geothermal energy to gas. We use our specialist Advocacy Fund to engage with companies, in which we normally wouldn’t invest, on particular issues of concern. This usually means purchasing a small amount of shares so that we can engage as a shareholder. This started in 2010 and focused on climate change. We engage with policymakers and policy influencers and often make submissions to Government on issues of concern. And we run and support campaigns for change alongside our members and other liked-minded groups. For example, we use social media to engage with a wide audience on ethical issues. You can see a summary of some of our advocacy activities in 2017 here: https://www.australianethical.com.au/news/12-ways-we-are-for-a-better-world/ We hope this helps to explain our approach a bit more.Thanks for such a comprehensive reply about your approach. Your recent response to AMP notes some of the challenges that directors of boards have faced when balancing the needs of customers with the interests of shareholders and the executives themselves. I am wondering how AE approaches this? AE charges fees that are relatively high by comparison to other funds. It is stated that this is primarily because ethical screening requires more research and time and therefore has higher costs. I think people can accept this as reasonable. However, AE also must cater to the interests of its shareholders, not just members like myself. Where are the dividends for shareholders derived if it isn't from the fees it charges its members?Thanks for your question, Nick. We are a for-profit organisation. But one that believes financial outcomes should be achieved while being conscious of their impact on the world around us. Like any for-profit, listed company we continually balance the needs of our stakeholder groups, including our members and shareholders. In fact, since 2013 our super fees have more than halved. This is because as we have grown and achieved greater scale, we have been able to defray our costs across a larger member base and have shared this benefit with members by reducing our fees. This decision has had an impact on the dividends for shareholders. Like any company, the Board oversees the development and implementation of the strategy and fees are a key part of the strategy. We hope this helps explain our approach.

Been with them since 2009 and going well

Initially, their fees were quite high. However, they've dropped them and are more competitive than before.

I have both a collection of funds within the AE managed-fund options plus AE Super and I've received consistent, fast and useful customer service. When I have requested further details about their investments, they've been more than happy to help.

- They're quite transparent about their investments and have a plethora of information online.

- The major website upgrade has made it easier to navigate and have a good mobile website too.

- When I had to change my personal details a few years back, they made the process fairly easy and was done reasonably quickly. Moreover, there are many changes that I can readily make online.

- Withdrawing and depositing funds from/to my managed funds account has been very simple. I have always managed to do it all online, no physical paperwork required; just an extra paperwork to open the account but nothing excessive.

- I am glad to see more ethical funds around nowadays that give people greater options to invest in more ethical companies.


AMATEURS

It's impossible to trust a company who can't even get your date of birth correct, due to problems with their online signup process. This may have something to do with their systems 'upgrade' which another reviewer mentions.. :|
I was asked to get certified copies of birth certificate and to "keep checking" my account to see when the update had occurred, and then to again go through the process of rolling over my super.
All this after already arranging the transfer with my payroll team.
I'll try a different ethical fund...they couldn't possibly be worse.

1 comment
Hi Rhona, We’re sorry to hear about your experience. Our team has looked into the issue but need to discuss this with you privately. We have sent you a private message on Product Review so please get in touch so we can resolve this matter for you quickly.

Unethical Customer Service - if I could rate Zero stars I would

Customer service absolutely shocking. No call backs, no follow ups - once they had my money their job was done and I had to do all the chasing. I needed to apply for a financial hardship withdrawal due to a mental illness relapse/hospitalisation, and these guys made it hell for me - they exacerbated my symptoms tenfold.
I applied for withdrawal on the 5th of December and never heard anything until I called them in January, and it still hadn't been processed because they needed more evidence of my financial outgoings. By this stage the 21 days had passed and I would have had to get a new letter from Centrelink, plus start collecting receipts to prove the expenses I had documented on the application form. None of these expenses were unreasonable for a single person, so they could have seen that what I was claiming was reasonable. This still wasn't enough, they wanted petrol receipts, grocery receipts, loan documents, utility bills, etc. That is ridiculous to ask me for that 6 weeks after I sent the original application in. Nobody took responsibility for the process being delayed, kept blaming "the system". No apologies for the delay either.
I then applied to Ethical Super to process a rollover into MLC and weeks later they still hadn't contacted me nor processed the rollover! So I put it in MLC's hands and it got done within a week.
Absolutely disgraceful effort guys, not ethical at all. Never recommending you to anyone I know and very, very disgruntled with our dealings!

2 comments
Hi Tooksta - we’re so sorry to hear that happened to you. We will investigate this now. Can you please send us a private message or email us at enquiries@australianethical.com.au with your full name and the best contact number. We’d like to reach out to help. Thank you. Sherin at Australian EthicalIt should have been addressed whilst it was happening. I gave you guys plenty of chances to make it right, yet time and time again I was either completely ignored (via email), or told it wasn't anybody's fault, it was the "system". I do not wish to have any further dealings with you whatsoever. Please close my account immediately. I've sent you a PM so you can investigate, but it will not change the fact that I had been treated unethically. Good luck.

Best Choice

I switched to AE a few years ago and love their service. They recently updated their systems and website making it user friendly and easy to navigate. Cannot recommend them more highly! Fabulous fund with great service!


My money is well-invested and returns beat the fees

1. Australian Ethical Super (AES) invests your money in companies that do not engage in socially or environmentally harmful activities. In addition, they are one of the few financial institutions that tell you in which companies they spend their money. You know where and how your money is invested.

2. AES also offers great value insurance: Life, TPD and income protection.

3. Their fees are higher than industry super funds and most retail super funds but frankly, I get much better value on my fees at AES than I used to get at my previous super fund which was not-for-profit.

4. Website is a bit archaic and there is no smartphone application, but as of 22 November 2017, I have received correspondence from AES telling me that they are moving to a new service provider. Fingers crossed online services will be improved!


Dysfunctional / limited sense of accountability to customers - I don't trust them with my money

> Requested insurance policy
> Awaiting further confirmation of details on policy prior to agreeing to undertake the policy
> Several weeks go by and I am advised I will be contacted to confirm policy details before it is put in place
> Clarified terms of policy were indeed unsuitable and again advise to awaited for call to decline policy
> Australian Ethical put policy in place, with exclusions, without my consent
> Notified several weeks the policy was in place several weeks earlier
> Requested immediate cancellation and refund
> Month goes by, I called again and was advised they're looking in to it
> First fee is deducted from my account
> Call to complain and they tell me they're looking in to it - no advice on when they'll cancel my policy
> Work out that to cancel the insurance (that I didn't consent to) I need to complete a variation form - to reiterate,
- this is information I needed to obtain myself, they were happy to allow the fees of an illegitimate policy to be withdrawn from my account
> Commit to resolution in 90 days... which is 6 months after it all began...
.... the saga continues

Oh and to call them you need to log in with a passcode that does not exist... that's right you literally can not successfully contact them over the phone without defaulting on your passcode and being redirected to an operator... they know this and "they've told someone about it"...

It felt like faulty towers.


Very expensive feeds but decided to switch against Super funds investing in tobacco, coal, etc.

It's a small effort, but having some say in where my compulsory investment money goes to- I'd rather it in something sustainable for the future.


Still invests in fossil fuels

I was a member because I thought they were fossil fuel free. They've now gotten rid of some of their fossil fuel stocks, but this issue is the most important for me. I felt really upset when I found out how much they were investing in coal seam gas when I was a member.

1 comment
Hi Peter. In our 30 year history, Australian Ethical has never invested in coal or oil. We divested from the unconventional gas sector in 2011, and in 2015 we made the decision to exit our remaining limited exposure to conventional gas sector companies. Australian Ethical is the only Australian super fund to have set a net-zero emissions target and timeframe for all our investments. We have signed two pledges consistent with this commitment; the Montreal Pledge and the Portfolio Decarbonisation Coalition. We exclude all fossil fuel company investments. This means we exclude all companies whose main business is fossil fuels, as well as diversified companies that earn some fossil fuel revenue and aren’t creating a positive impact with their other activities. We may invest in a diversified company which is having a positive impact in other ways such as producing renewable energy, provided its fossil fuel revenue is below our thresholds. For example, we assess Contact Energy to be a climate-friendly investment, with 82% of their electricity production coming from renewables in 2016. They earn some revenue from gas, but we think they are worth supporting as they continue to invest in renewables and help us get to 100% clean energy. You can read more about our fossil fuel free future here: https://www.australianethical.com.au/news/beyond-fossil-fuel-free/

Let the money work ethically

As a consumer I have an obligation to not only think about returns, but also what my money is used for while it is on the market. It was a dead simple choice for me to switch to AE.


Left Vicsuper for AE- my best decision!

Said it all on my Vicsuper review, please check Lamont's review there. I am a Victorian teacher of 28 years standing
Why more people are not using this company is beyond me. I think Australians are too trusting and lazy and don't get actively involved in their super contribution choices. If you read this and are in Vicsuper, study their investment choices and returns against AE. I reckon you will be shocked.


Ethical choice

Choosing ethical investments and 100% renewable power options is easy. I chose Ethical Investments because they have a conscience and so do I.


Ethical and superb

This is a simple decision for your super, and you.
Safe in the knowledge that your fund is making the ethical choice you want


Glad I changed.

Good performance and good for the heart! I think this is a powerful way to put your money where your mouth is.


Very happy with the switch to Australian Ethical

I made the switch nearly 2 years ago trying to stand by my morals but not really sure what results I would get. My previous superannuation ticked over with little to no change over the years so I was very pleasantly surprised to see my investment with Australian Ethical super make some significant gains. The transition across was as easy as filling out a form and I get regular updates online. A very easy process. Very happy!


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Questions & Answers

I have super with AE and I'm now considering putting money into one of the AE managed funds. So far I like the approach AE takes. The fees are pretty high though. How can you justify this?
1 answer
Hi Jimbobaloobop, It's always nice to hear that one of our Super members is considering one of our Managed Funds as well! We're glad you like our ethical approach to investing - and you would already be aware of our competitive performance returns. Fees are about many things, including the level of engagement of the fund managers, and a matter of scale. Australian Ethical has a particularly high level of engagement, because of both our ethical screening, and our active investment style. Despite this, since 2013 we’ve more than halved our fees. It’s just one of the ways that as we grow, we’re making sure to share the benefits with our investors. You might also be interested to know that we are one of the best valued ethical investment funds in Australia when you take into account what our product offers. You may also find that other ‘ethical funds’ may not offer a comprehensive ethical screening process, for example only screening certain negative industries, or best of industry. You may be interested in some of our wholesale funds, which offer the funds at a substantially reduced fee. You can find more information on our wholesale funds here: https://www.australianethical.com.au/managed-funds/fees/. You can find more on the performance of our managed funds here: https://www.australianethical.com.au/managed-funds/performance-and-returns/ If you want to discuss our investment options, don't hesitate to call us on 1800 021 227. - Julian at Australian Ethical.

I would like to know if Australian Ethical discloses 100% of their assets and also if there is any investments linked to Wilson, Broadspectrum or any other torture providers be it onshore or offshore, directly or indirectly? Thanks
1 answer
Hi Norbu I am so sorry for not being able to respond to you earlier. Transparency is a key priority at Australian Ethical. That’s why we list the companies we invest in across our investments. To view the companies we invest in, please visit https://www.australianethical.com.au/companies-we-invest-in/. Thank you Sherin at Australian Ethical

Are medical tests required to get insurance coverage from AEO?
1 answer
Hi there, Sorry it's taken us so long to respond - we didn't get a notification about this question but here's the answer! For our default coverage for disability & total disability cover no medical examinations are required. For additional cover or a fixed amount etc, there is an application process by which you'll need to answer medical questions. Sometimes blood tests or medical results/scans are required after completing the medical questions. - Grace, Australian Ethical

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