How to pick the right KiwiSaver provider for you

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by KiwiSaver. There are a lot of providers – how do you know which is best?

Media articles, marketing campaigns and special offers can be confusing.

We’ve put together a simple guide to help you choose the best KiwiSaver provider for you.

1/ Check the provider offers at least one fund which is right for you

In KiwiSaver, there are a range of different ‘funds’ your money can be placed into.

Work out what type of fund your money should be invested in, depending on when you plan on taking out your money. 

Once you’ve worked out what type of fund is best, for example growth or conservative, find a provider that offers this type of fund and investment style.

2/ Check the provider’s fees

Markets going through bumpy periods may reduce your returns from time to time, but fees always do. Find out what you’re paying in fees (check your annual statement or call your provider) and check whether you’re getting value for money. Remember, there are often more than one type of fee charged, and sometimes these can seem ‘hidden’. You might be happy paying high fees if you’re getting good returns, or happy with your provider. But you might be paying high fees and not getting much back at all.

3/ Compare returns

Markets go up and down, and KiwiSaver providers’ performances vary from year to year. But long-term returns are important to check. Past returns are no guarantee of future returns, but if your provider is continually doing poorly, even in good years for markets, that could be a warning signal.

4/ Is the provider active or passive?

KiwiSaver providers can be actively or passively managed.

If it’s actively managed, this means there are real people (fund managers) making decisions about where to invest your money. This can be good in times where markets are rough, because fund managers can make decisions to reduce the risk of your investment.

Passive management means your investments track a major market index. No one is trying to beat the market to get you better returns and there are no people making decisions.

You often pay more fees for active management. Find out if your KiwiSaver provider is active or passive, and are you happy with the fees and returns? If you’re being charged high fees for just following a market index, it might be worth taking another look.

5/ Compare providers using independent online tools

There are a range of tools to help you compare best KiwiSaver providers for your personal situation. Sorted.org.nz is a trusted government-run website that offers independent information.

  • Sorted's Smart Investor helps compare fund types. You can sort by fees, returns, and asset types.
  • Sorted's KiwiSaver fees calculator compares providers based on fees and active or passive management.
  • Sorted's KiwiSaver Fund Finder compares funds based on fees, services, and returns.
     

    6/ Communication and education

    As well as managing your money, KiwiSaver providers are also expected to help you understand your KiwiSaver account and what it means. Hopefully you’re hearing relatively regularly from your provider, who is updating you on any changes (such as the latest KiwiSaver changes) and helping you make sure your money is performing the best it can. 

    7/ Check in on your KiwiSaver provider every year

    Things change regularly in the KiwiSaver world. A provider suitable for your situation five years ago might no longer be the best one for you. Providers can change their fees, or how they invest, and their returns might take a turn for the worse. New providers may enter the market too. Check your KiwiSaver provider once a year and make sure you’re still comfortable having them manage your money.
  • Story by Claire Connell, JUNO

    Published 15 May 2019

    Pie Funds Management Limited is the issuer of the JUNO KiwiSaver Scheme. You can read our Product Disclosure Statement here. This article is general in nature only and has not taken into account any particular person’s objectives or circumstances. We recommend you speak with a financial adviser. All content is correct at time of publication date.