#1 fund for weathering market ups and downs3
SuperRatings' Pension of the Year three years in a row4
Due to required maintenance, QSuper Member Online will be unavailable from 9pm Friday, 26th February to 7am Saturday, 27th February 2021. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Answers to frequently asked questions to help you advise your clients
To get your authority added to your client's QSuper account, please send us a completed Authority to Release Information form (pdf), which has all the required information we need.
If you would prefer to use your own authority form, please make sure that you provide all the information we need to action your authority:
Please note it may take up to 3 working days for your authority to be processed once received and we do not accept digital signatures.
When you lodge an Authority to Release Information form (pdf) for a member with an Accumulation, Transition to Retirement Income, or Retirement Income account, a Client Summary will automatically be emailed to the address listed on your authority for all eligible accounts the member has. Please note it may take up to 3 working days for your authority to be processed once received.
If you have previously lodged an authority, you can request a Client Summary by phoning us on 1300 360 750 and selecting option 3 for advisers.
The QSuper Client Summary has been designed specifically with your needs as a financial adviser in mind, to provide:
QSuper does not currently offer the ability for members to deduct adviser fees from their QSuper account.
To help retirees minimise the impact of market volatility, the government has temporarily halved the minimum drawdown rates for 2019-20 and 2020-21. If your client has been receiving the minimum payment from their Income account, this will automatically change to the reduced minimum from 1 July 2020.
We have written to all affected members to let them know what this means and their options available. If your client was receiving the minimum payments at 30 June 2020, we automatically applied the reduced minimum rates to their payment from 1 July 2020. Your client’s minimum payments for this financial year will be confirmed in a Payment Schedule in their Income account annual statement due to be distributed from 12 July 2020.
Our Income account can provide your client with flexible payment options, strong long-term performance, and simple, transparent fees.
Your client may also be eligible for a transfer bonus when they move their money from a QSuper Accumulation or Transition to Retirement Income account to a QSuper Retirement Income account.
This is a payment that reflects a return of a capital gains tax when investments move into the tax-free environment.
Your QSuper Client Summary will show the potential value of a transfer bonus for your client’s account, estimated at the date of the quote only (a specific amount is not guaranteed).
Your client's Income account transfer bonus is based on their unique investment history.
Some of the factors we take into consideration:
Unlike other super funds, the transfer bonus amount is uncapped.
Note: Any money in the Cash and Diversified Bonds investment options does not qualify for the transfer bonus. Also, any money invested in QSuper Self Invest doesn’t attract a bonus, because the member already benefits from the ability to move assets across to an Income account without having to pay capital gains tax.
For more information about how the bonus is calculated, refer to the Accumulation Account Guide (pdf).
When your client retires or closes their Defined Benefit account, their benefit is calculated by multiplying a number that reflects both their years of service and their contribution rate (the multiple) with their final salary.
The longer they work for the Queensland Government (and keep their Defined Benefit account open), and the higher the rate they contribute, the bigger their multiple will be.
Each year, your client's multiple grows in relation to the amount they contribute and work. By default, their multiple increases by 0.21 each year. For example, after 10 years contributing at the default rate, your client's multiple will be 2.1, which means their benefit will be 2.1 times their final salary.
Because the multiplier is calculated based on your client's salary rather than investment earnings, your client's defined benefit is not impacted by market movements. For more information about this formula, including how part-time work affects the multiple, see the Defined Benefit Account Guide (pdf).
Please note the situation is different for Police and State accounts.
Each financial year, employers report their employees' salary for superannuation purposes to us, which is what we use to calculate your client's benefit. This is their permanent full-time equivalent salary as at 1 July, including allowances that have been approved by the Queensland Government.
If your client was working in higher duties, the higher salary is only reported to us as their 1 July salary if they have been acting in the higher role continuously for at least the 12 months preceding that 1 July. This also applies when they have been seconded to another government department to act in a higher-paid role.
If your client closes their Defined Benefit account when they're 54 years old or older, their final average salary is worked out by averaging their salary for superannuation purposes over the 12 months before they leave. To do this, we proportion their two most recent salaries for superannuation purposes to get their final salary. If your client is 54 years old, we only proportion their salary back to their 54th birthday.
Your client's final salary is not reduced if they work part-time, because we use their permanent full-time equivalent salary. Instead, if they work part-time, their multiple will grow at a proportionally smaller rate during that time. This means they still reap the benefit of their years of service spent working full-time and their full-time equivalent salary.
If your client has previously chosen to reduce their Defined Benefit contribution rate, they may be able to catch up by temporarily increasing their rate to make up for the contributions they didn’t pay earlier.
The table below shows the different percentage rates of your client's salary that they can contribute and how this grows their Defined Benefit multiple.
The catch-up option is not available for periods when your client is on leave without pay, but it might be available to them while they are receiving WorkCover benefits. Catch-up only applies if your client has previously lowered their standard contribution, and does not apply to periods when they have been working part-time. There are several ways to catch up, including increasing the standard contributions deducted from your client's pay, or by making a standard contribution directly to their account. For more information about catch-up contributions for Defined Benefit accounts, please call us on 1300 360 750.
1. Police officers have different contribution rates. See the Defined Benefit Guide (pdf) for more details.
2. This rate is only available if your client has previously paid less than 5% and is ‘catching up’.
If your client's salary is reduced, they may be entitled to an additional amount, called a salary reduction benefit. This recognises the benefit they accrued on their previously higher salary.
If your client has more than one salary reduction during their employment, each one is calculated separately.
Your client would not receive a salary reduction benefit if their final salary was higher than their indexed reduced salary. The indexed reduced salary is your client's 1 July salary before the reduction, indexed with average weekly ordinary time earnings (AWOTE)1 growth up to the point when they access their benefit.
The salary reduction benefit is paid when your client accesses all or part of their defined benefit. If they only access a portion of their defined benefit, they will only receive a corresponding portion of the salary reduction benefit. The remaining salary reduction portion will be taken into account when they access their remaining defined benefit.
For example, if your client starts a Transition to Retirement Income account equal to 30% of their defined benefit, then 30% of their salary reduction benefit calculated at that time would also be moved to their Transition to Retirement Income account. If they later retire, and they're still eligible for a salary reduction benefit, they would receive 70% of the amount available at that time. The best way to see whether they are eligible and how much they might receive is to call us and ask for a quote.
If your client was working in higher duties and starts a new, higher salary, the higher salary is only reported to us as their 1 July salary if they have been acting in the higher role continuously for at least the 12 months preceding that 1 July. This also applies when they have been seconded to another government department to act in a higher-paid role.
If your client starts a new, reduced salary at 1 July, they may be entitled to a salary reduction benefit, discussed in a separate FAQ on this page. This recognises the benefit they accrued on their previously higher salary.
If your client has a Defined Benefit account and is younger than 55 years old when they resign or voluntarily leave employment with an employer who offers a Defined Benefit account, we will calculate their benefit and split it into the client's part (money they contributed, plus interest earnings) and their employer's part (money their employer contributed). The employer's part stays in the defined benefit environment as a Deferred Retirement Benefit (DRB) until your client turns 55, unless your client asks us to transfer a discounted amount to the Accumulation account instead. Meanwhile, your client's part is invested in an Accumulation account for them.
From the time your client leaves their defined benefit employer, their DRB increases every quarter in line with average weekly ordinary time earnings (AWOTE).1 This increase is intended to reflect the salary growth they might have earned if they had stayed with an employer who offers a Defined Benefit account.
When they turn 55, we transfer their DRB to their Accumulation account. We will contact your client before they turn 55 to ask how they would like their money invested. If we don't hear back from them, then when they turn 55, we'll invest their funds according to their existing Accumulation account investment preference, or if they don’t have one, our default investment option, Lifetime.
At any time, your client might choose to leave the DRB and transfer a discounted transfer value to their Accumulation account. The level of discount to your client's benefit can be found in the Defined Benefit Account Guide (pdf), or you can call us for a quote or statement. You can show your client our PDS for the Accumulation account if they are considering this option.
QSuper's group life insurance policy has exclusions which mean we cannot pay a benefit where the claim arises (directly or indirectly) from things like:
For the full list of exclusions that may apply, please read the Accumulation Account Insurance Guide (pdf).
Yes, QSuper's group life insurance policy has a pandemic illness exclusion which has taken effect from 18 March 2020.
This exclusion only applies to new insurance cover that starts on or after 18 March 2020.
It does not apply to default cover your client receives that:
If the pandemic illness exclusion applies to your client, we will not pay an insurance benefit where their claim arises (directly or indirectly) from a pandemic illness where their date of disablement occurs within 30 days after their cover starting.
See the Accumulation Account Insurance Guide (pdf) for more information.
In most circumstances, if your client is at work on the first day of their employment with a default employer or Queensland Government employer, there will be no pre-existing exclusion period on their default insurance cover. If your client is not at work on the day default cover starts, an indefinite pre-existing exclusion period will apply until the member has been at work for 30 consecutive days. Refer to the Accumulation Account Insurance Guide (pdf) for more information.
A 5-year pre-existing exclusion period will apply for the following default cover:
Other exclusions may also apply; see the Accumulation Account Insurance Guide (pdf) for details.
A 5-year pre-existing exclusion period will apply to any cover above the default cover, including:
Each time your client increases their cover, the pre-existing condition exclusion period applies only to that increased portion of cover.
In many cases, members can request to have pre-existing exclusion periods removed. Your client can apply by providing health and other supporting information. More information can be found the Accumulation Account Insurance Guide (pdf).
We don't require your client to be underwritten before providing them with default cover if they're eligible.
However, if your client applies to change their cover, we will ask them a range of health and other questions for our underwriting team to assess their eligibility.
If your client wants to have the pre-existing condition exclusion period removed from their cover, they will need to provide health and other information so we can assess their application.
Your client would also need to provide health and other information if they were applying for additional cover above our automatic acceptance limits (AAL). The automatic acceptance limits are as follows:
For more information, please see the Accumulation Account Insurance Guide (pdf).
We don't require any personal medical history before providing your client with default cover (if they're eligible), so we won't ask whether they smoke.
However, if your client applies to change their cover, we will ask them a range of health and other questions including whether or not they are a smoker.
If your client chooses to occupationally rate their cover, this personalises their cover and their premium may change, depending on their occupation. They can occupationally rate themselves through Member Online by answering a few simple questions; however, they do not have to proceed if they feel it is not suitable for them, e.g. if their insurance premium would increase rather than decrease.
There are occasions where a member will be required to occupationally rate - see below.
For more details, please see the Accumulation Account Insurance Guide (pdf).
Occupationally rating cover is voluntary unless your client is changing away from default cover.
Your client would be required to occupationally rate for changes such as:
Yes, your client may be able to transfer across existing death cover, TPD cover, and/or income protection from another Australian insurer held either directly or through an Australian super fund.
Be aware that unless your client permanently opts in to cover, they will not be eligible to have insurance if they are under the age of 25, or their account balance has not reached $6,000 or more, or has not received any money in the last 13 months. Find out more.
To apply for a transfer, please send us a completed Application to Transfer My Insurance form (pdf).
While there is no minimum account balance required, to keep their insurance cover, your client will need to make sure:
If a premium payment would reduce their account balance to $0, this will cancel their insurance.
Your client can transfer funds from their QSuper account to another super fund to pay for insurance premiums with that fund. However, if they want to also keep their QSuper insurance by keeping their Accumulation account active, they must keep at least $10,000 in their account.
Your client can cancel their QSuper insurance at any time by logging in to Member Online or using the Application to Cancel Insurance form (pdf).
Your client can apply for cover again at any time (subject to eligibility), but they will need to provide health and other information so we can assess their application, and their cover may be subject to pre-existing condition exclusions.
Salary-based income protection cover can be changed to unitised cover at any time in Member Online or by using our Change of Insurance form (pdf). Some members may choose to do this if they have a second income they want to cover or because they want to reduce or increase their cover to meet their personal circumstances.
If your client has a 2-year benefit for income protection, their benefit payments will stop if they are deemed to be totally and permanently disabled and receive a TPD payment.
If a member has a 5-year or to age 65 benefit, their income protection benefit payments may continue if they are deemed TPD. They then receive an income protection benefit payment and a TPD payment.
QSuper has a three-part definition for TPD where members must meet at least one part and the permanent incapacity definition contained in the SIS regulations.
The three parts include:
QSuper’s investment strategy is to invest in a “risk-balanced” way, which means we focus on risk allocation not asset allocation.
What this means practically for our members in our default and other diversified options is decreased equity risk and increased exposure to other asset classes, led by bonds, as well as direct infrastructure, real estate, private equity and alternative investments.
Our risk-balanced investment strategy aims to achieve approximately equal long-term returns to traditional ‘balanced’ portfolios but with reduced volatility and better outcomes in significant downside events.
Find out more about our investment strategy and philosophy.
QSuper’s Accumulation account MySuper (default) option is Lifetime, a lifecycle investment option that automatically adjusts a member’s investment strategy based on their age and Lifetime account balance.
The default investment strategy for our Income account (Retirement Income and Transition to Retirement) is the Balanced option.
If your client wants more control over their super, they can choose from our range of our investment options.
QSuper has adopted a diversified strategy to seek long-term, risk-balanced returns in its portfolios by allocating the risk premium across the full range of investment classes. This is an alternative to simply holding more equities to make up the growth assets of a multi-sector portfolio.
While our Lifetime and other Diversified options have similar return objectives to their peers, the asset allocations will often differ, particularly with regards to growth assets. While other more traditional growth portfolios typically rely more heavily on equity exposure, QSuper aims to deliver its objectives with reduced volatility and better outcomes in significant downside events. This is due to the low correlation between fixed income and equities and is a contributor to meeting these return and volatility objectives.
The fixed interest allocation within Lifetime and our other Diversified options differs to the Diversified Bonds option portfolio, as it includes a greater allocation to high return-seeking bonds. These are fixed interest investments which provide diversification and a hedge against inflation and target yield enhancement. They have a similar risk/return profile to equities - noting that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance - but importantly, the returns do not typically exhibit a strong correlation to equities.
This serves to reduce volatility at the overall portfolio level, by lessening the impacts of equity market downturns, but similarly muting strong equity market performance. These assets also have a high duration, increasing meaning the sensitivity of the price of the bond to interest rate movements.
1. AWOTE is a measure of wage levels across Australia and is calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.