KiwiSaver scheme overhaul set to see many Kiwis end up with more cash in the bank

The number of default KiwiSaver providers will be cut from nine to six, the Government has announced.

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About 381,000 people are currently in the default conservative fund, but it is now being reset to a balanced fund. Source: 1 NEWS

The new default provider arrangements will take effect once the terms of the current providers ends on 30 November 2021.

It means those joining the scheme at 18 could have an extra $143,000 at retirement through lower fees and higher investment returns, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

Around 381,000 members are currently in the default fund they were automatically allocated to when they started a new job, because they did not make any active decisions about their fund, he says.

“The Government wants all New Zealanders to reap the benefits of their KiwiSaver, whether they’re actively engaged in their fund or not. As the 2014–2021 default term comes to an end, we’ve taken the opportunity to enhance the overall benefits of being in a default fund.

The six providers are: Bank of New Zealand, Booster, BT Funds Management (Westpac), Kiwi Wealth, Simplicity and Smartshares (NZX).

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The changes will see nine default providers drop to six. Source: 1 NEWS

“The six default providers were selected because they offer the best value for money for their members in terms of lower fees and higher levels of service," Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said.

“We’ve also changed the default provider settings to enhance Kiwis’ financial wellbeing in retirement. This includes moving the default investment fund type from a conservative to a balanced setting to increase the likelihood of higher returns over the long-term.

“To illustrate just how much default members stand to gain, an 18-year-old earning $50,000 a year and contributing three percent of their income to KiwiSaver is estimated to have an extra $143,000 when they reach 65. They will also pay around $3,900 less in fees.

“Another enhancement is ensuring default members receive higher service levels from their provider, including guidance at key points on their retirement journey to help them with things like selecting the right fund and contribution rate.

“However, if a member wishes to remain with their current provider or in their current fund, they can choose to do so by contacting their KiwiSaver provider,” Clark said.

Grant Robertson says the Government is also ensuring default funds are invested more responsibly.

“We know many Kiwis care about where their money is invested, so we are excluding any investments in fossil fuel production. This reflects the Government’s commitment to addressing the impacts of climate change and transitioning to a low-emissions economy.”