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How adding alternative assets enhances your investment mix

2021-05-28 04:30

Most of us have heard of the main traditional asset classes: shares, property, fixed interest and cash, but alternative assets are less well known. However, these types of assets can provide further diversification – and enhanced returns – for your investment portfolio.

Alternative investments are those found outside the traditional asset classes. Typical ones include unlisted real estate, private equity, venture capital, infrastructure, renewable energy, hedge funds, commodities, and private debt. Generally these are assets that aren't linked to the performance of the share market so they can perform when share market returns are down or flat. This means it adds a layer of diversification - you're not 'putting all of your eggs in one basket' and seeing all asset classes suffer at the same time. 

Low returns increase interest in alternatives

In this low interest rate environment, which tends to mean lower returns for cash and bonds, ANZ Smart Choice Super is changing its asset mix – as per the table below – by adding alternative investments to ensure it can help members grow their super and retire comfortably.


Alternative investments differ to publicly available funds as they're part of the private investment market and aren't easily accessible for the everyday person. 

Typical alternative assets include:


Infrastructure assets are known for providing long-term, stable and predictable cash flows. Our investment focus is likely to remain in opportunities within energy production and transmission but we expect to expand to newer sectors such as agriculture infrastructure and renewable energy, particularly wind-powered energy and a selection of solar-power opportunities.

Private equity

The private equity sector enables us to invest in a range of companies that are not publicly traded on public stock exchanges. The advantage is that by investing at the start of a company's lifecycle, it's possible to generate strong risk-adjusted returns and benefit from high earnings growth when compared to listed markets.

Real estate

We will also invest in real estate funds as real estate has a low correlation to shares but is often considered to work well with inflation as rent and property values tend to rise as inflation rises. This asset class has evolved over time to include data and medical centres, retirement homes, childcare and storage facilities, as well as commercial real estate debt, which provides loans to commercial borrowers who need funding for real estate purposes.

What this means for you

Adding a range of alternative investments to a portfolio is expected to increase the investment return prospects available to investors while complementing the current investment mix. The improved performance is because alternative investments are generally less impacted by daily market movements in the way that other assets are. For example shares and bonds can be quickly affected by changing market, social and economic events. Therefore, the overall volatility, or the 'roller-coaster ride' of increasing and decreasing valuations, should reduce when funds include a proportion of alternative assets into their mix.

The good news is, for ANZ Smart Choice Super members, we'll now include Australian and global funds that have exposure to infrastructure projects, real estate, private equity and credit to help keep our members on track for a comfortable retirement.

Not all alternatives are equal

Of course, it's not as simple as just deciding to add an allocation of alternative investments into the mix. Alternative assets need to be carefully researched and reviewed in order to find the most appropriate options for each particular fund. They need to be carefully weighed up against other asset classes and sectors to ensure the most appropriate levels of risk and reward that will support our members to achieve a comfortable retirement. This means management costs are higher, but it's expected this will be offset by the higher returns the investments will generate.

Want to know more?

Educating yourself about your retirement savings, including your investment options and ways you can boost your balance, is one of the smartest financial choices you can make.  Get your questions about superannuation answered and read inspirational stories from people just like you by visiting our member learning centre.

Get expert guidance

Expert guidance can support you to navigate through this increasingly complex market environment. Speak to a financial adviser if you'd like some support with your financial strategy.

Check that you're on track

Review your super balance and check if you're on track for a comfortable retirement via our online retirement calculator available through ANZ Internet Banking.

How adding alternative assets enhances your investment mix

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“ANZ Smart Choice Super” is a suite of products consisting of ANZ Smart Choice Super and Pension (PDF)ANZ Smart Choice Super for employers and their employees (PDF) and ANZ Smart Choice Super for QBE Management Services Pty Ltd and their employees (PDF). OnePath Custodians Pty Limited (ABN 12 008 508 496, AFSL 238346 RSE L0000673) (OPC) is the issuer of the ANZ Smart Choice Super suite of products. OPC is the trustee of the Retirement Portfolio Service (ABN 61 808 189 263, RSE R1000986) (RPS) and the ANZ Smart Choice Super suite of products are part of the RPS. You should consider obtaining financial advice before making any decisions based on the information. You should obtain a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) relating to the relevant financial product and consider it before making any decision about whether to acquire or continue to hold the product. Target Market Determinations (TMDs) where required for relevant products have to be available for consideration by distributors/members. A copy of the PDS and TMD (where relevant) is available via the links above, and upon request by phoning 13 12 87 or by searching for the applicable product at The ANZ Smart Choice Super and Pension product is distributed by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) (ABN 11 005 357 522).  We recommend that you read the ANZ Financial Services Guide (PDF), before deciding whether to acquire or continue to hold this product. View the ANZ Smart Choice Super and Pension Target Market Determination (PDF). ANZ Smart Choice Super for employers and their employees and ANZ Smart Choice Super for QBE Management Services Pty Ltd and their employees are MySuper compliant products issued pursuant to the latest PDS available at OPC is a member of the Insignia Financial group of companies, comprising Insignia Financial Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (Insignia Financial Group). The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) (ABN 11 005 357 522) brand is a trademark of ANZ and is used by OPC under licence from ANZ. ANZ and the Insignia Financial group of companies (including OPC) are not related bodies corporate. ANZ does not stand behind or guarantee these products.

Before re-directing your super or moving your money into ANZ Smart Choice Super, you will need to consider whether there are any adverse consequences for you, including loss of benefits (e.g. insurance cover), investment options and performance, functionality, increase in investment risks and where your future employer contributions will be paid. 

All opinions in this article are those of IOOF Group and not ANZ.

This information is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking account of your personal needs, financial situation or objectives. Before acting on this information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your personal needs, financial circumstances or objectives.

All fees are subject to change. Other key features are relevant when choosing a super fund, including performance. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

ANZ does not represent or guarantee that access to ANZ Internet Banking or the ANZ App will be uninterrupted. Temporary service disruptions may occur. ANZ recommends that you read the ANZ App Terms and Conditions available here for iOS (PDF) and here for Android (PDF) and consider if this service is appropriate to you prior to making a decision to acquire or use the ANZ App.

You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Additional Information Guide available at or by calling 13 12 87 before deciding to acquire, or continue to hold, an interest in ANZ Smart Choice Super.

The investment mix is selected based on the member’s decade of birth.