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Is Equip an industry fund?

Superannuation  |  9/05/2019  |   8 min read

Thanks to a massive multi-million dollar advertising campaign run over more than a decade, the industry fund concept is pretty well understood. Generally, these funds have had lower fees and higher investment returns to members because they don’t have external shareholders. Basically, all the profits flow back to members.

Those claims have been validated by the recent Productivity Commission into the competitiveness of the superannuation industry. It found that industry funds had consistently outperformed retail funds. According to Rice Warner chief executive Michael Rice, retail funds provide a “relatively poor product offering compared to the large industry funds.”

So is Equip an Industry Fund?

The short answer is yes. The slightly longer answer is also yes – but we prefer to call ourselves a profit-to-member fund.

The reality is that the terms ‘industry fund’ and ‘profit-to-member fund’ mean broadly the same thing. Both are member focused, and have a history of delivering higher returns to members than their retail counterparts.

The difference between the two terms is mostly historical. For example, Equip was founded in 1931, and was originally a fund for public service employees of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV).

‘Industry funds’ evolved from the Hawke-Keating government’s industrial deal in 1980s , The Accord, as a partnership between trade unions and employers in specific industry sectors.

This table may help explain where Equip, as a profit-to-member fund, compares with industry and retail funds (often owned by banks):

  Equip Industry funds Retail
Low fees 


Yes ?

All investment earnings to members

(after fees and taxes)

Yes Yes No
Skills-based board appointments Yes ? ?
Pay external shareholders No No Yes
Service multiple industry sectors Yes ? Yes
Feature the 'Industry fund' logo No Yes No
Aligned with trade union movement  No Yes No


Equip has been helping Australian's retire better since 1931. Read more about our history by clicking here.


This information is provided for general information only. It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and should therefore not be taken as personal advice. You should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it and, if necessary, you should seek professional financial advice. Issued by Equipsuper Pty Ltd ABN 64 006 964 049 AFSL 246383.  MySuper Authorisation Numbers 33813823017672 and 33813823017518  (‘Equip’, ‘the Fund’ and ‘the Equip Rio Tinto Fund’).

Equipsuper Financial Planning Pty Ltd (“EFP”) (ABN 84 124 491 078, AFSL 455010) is licensed to provide financial planning services to retail and wholesale clients. EFP is owned by Equipsuper Financial Holdings Pty Ltd (ABN 11 604 515 791). You can obtain the EFP Financial Services Guide and/or Privacy Statement by contacting our Helpline 1800 682 626.

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