Future Fund Makes Rare Negative Return

Future Fund Makes Rare Negative Return
Then Australian Federal treasurer Peter Costello attends the Liberal Party of Australia's Federal Council June 1, 2007 in Sydney, Australia. (Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

The Future Fund suffered a rare fall in return during the 2019/20 financial year at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic, which sent the economy reeling and saw the Australian stock market fall by over a third at one stage.

The fund, set up in May 2006 to cover future superannuation liabilities of public servants, delivered a return of minus 0.9 percent for the year.

Chair of the Future Fund Peter Costello, who set up the fund when he was federal treasurer, said the second half of the financial year was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he said the fund performed as intended through a highly volatile period, reducing the impact of market falls while looking forward to benefit as markets recover.

'The Future Fund is a long-term fund and its portfolio is designed to ride out short-term events and focus on long-term performance," Costello said in a statement on Sept 2.

"The board is focused on positioning for what will be a challenging and volatile environment in the future."

The fund stands at $161 billion compared with the initial capital injection from the then Howard government of $60.5 billion.

At a 10-year return of 9.2 percent, it is also exceeding its benchmark target of 6.1 percent.

Colin Brinsden in Canberra