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(Hint: It’s NOT the big banks!)

So, with all the talk about how superannuation changes, just how is your nest egg growing?

Well, if you parked it in the industry-backed MTAA super fund, the Australian Catholic Super or four funds run by the major big banks, then you have every reason to be concerned.

They are among the 10 worst-performing super funds in Australia over the last decade, according to a survey commissioned by The Weekend Australian.

Funds owned by the nation’s biggest banks – Westpac, CBA and ANZ – are among the lowest performing funds over the last five to 10 year period.

The MTAA My AutoSuper Balanced Fund, run for the Motor Trades Association of Australia, clocked the worst performance with an average annual return of 3 per cent – well down on the median return of 5.2 per cent.

Westpac’s BT Multi-Manager Balanced fund ranked the second worst with an average return of 3.4 per cent over the last 10 year period.

ANZ’s OnePath OptMix Balanced fund returned 3.8 per cent a year over the past decade, making it the third worst-performing fund – a position shared with the not-for-profit Australian Catholic MySuper Balanced fund.

“You need to check your super at least once a year. You’ve got to get your head around how the fund invests your money. There’s no point being in a very conservative fund and then getting upset over really low returns,’’ Alex Dunnin, senior consultant at superannuation research firm, Rainmaker told the Australian.

He added that a fund which delivers low returns over a five or 10-year period was not going to turn around performance quickly.

“It’s like trying to turn around a battleship,’’ Dunnin said.  

The figures come as the Productivity Commission attempts to break open the default process by injecting more consumer choice in the market.

About 80 per cent of workers accept their employers’ preferred funds which are brokered through enterprise bargaining agreements. Industry funds have a larger exposure to infrastructure while retail funds have more liquid investments.

The $10 billion MTAA fund, one of the biggest in the country, was one of the best performing fund before the global financial crisis hit and it lost more than $500 million. Following an investigation by the prudential regulator APRA, the fund overhauled its board of directors and appointed two new independent members and changed its investment strategy. MTAA later became the top performing super fund in 2015.

MTAA chief executive, Leeanne Turner admitted that members who has been with the fund for the past decade are still suffering financially compared to other funds.

The MTAA experience shows how investment returns can be volatile.