Could platform bias be undermining returns?

Investors and advisers are incorrectly adopting a short-term investment skew when it comes to self-managed super funds, with a platform-driven gearing towards liquid assets that could undermine long-term performance.

Such is the view of Blue Sky Alternative Investments director of investments, Alex McNab, who expressed confusion about why there was such a heavy bias towards liquid investment classes in the superannuation space.

"To our mind, that focus on liquidity is somewhat misplaced because we think you can construct a portfolio with sufficient liquidity to meet your needs, without having everything being liquid," he said.

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"We think that in a superannuation environment, where the structure is inherently illiquid, there are great opportunities for higher returns through allocations to illiquid asset classes because super funds are long term investment vehicles."

McNab said one of the reasons for the bias was driven by platforms, which tend to favour liquidity.

"At an adviser level, the business model of a lot of advisers revolves around platforms and those platforms typically have a strong preference towards liquidity or a daily price," he said.

He said embedded structural issues are behind the trends, which could ultimately be driving down superannuation investment returns.

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