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Don't switch KiwiSaver funds without reading this

7 March 2018
Reading time: 4 minutes

Posted by Tom Hartmann , 11 Comments

The sharemarket is going up and down again; in other words, it’s back to normal. But seeing your KiwiSaver balance go down for the first time in a while can be downright unnerving.

It’s important to not panic and jump ship, especially if the boat is just riding a wave down and will eventually sail up again. Once you bail, you miss out on the eventual recovery.

If you’ve been contemplating a switch for other reasons, here are some considerations.

It’s easy to switch between KiwiSaver options, and there are two ways to do it. You can either move to an entirely different KiwiSaver provider altogether and pick one of the funds they offer, or you can stay with the same provider and change to one of their other KiwiSaver funds.

Either way, one of the best ways to compare all your options in the market, or even just those your provider offers, is by using Sorted’s KiwiSaver fund finder.

Changing providers

These may be good reasons to move to a new KiwiSaver provider:

On the other hand, these may be bad reasons to jump ship:

Always check whether the new provider’s fees, services and investment options suit you as well as your current scheme does.

If you do decide to change KiwiSaver providers, simply complete a membership form for the new one. They will tell Inland Revenue and arrange for your funds to be transferred, which typically takes between 10 and 35 days.

Some providers charge a transfer fee to move out of their scheme: Aon ($35) and Booster ($30).

Changing funds with your current provider

Stick with the same provider, but choose a different fund – here are some good reasons to head down this route:

A bad reason to change KiwiSaver funds would be:

Keep in mind that some KiwiSaver providers let you invest in more than one of their funds, so you could spread your contributions across multiple funds with different risk levels. But by doing this you are creating your own asset mix between funds, and it may be simpler to just find a fund that already has a mix that’s right for you without doing the blending yourself.

The other thing to remember is that some providers have “life stages” options that adjust your investment mix automatically as you age, either by altering the fund you’re in or distributing your money between funds of various risk levels.

The point is, switching isn’t always the best choice, but for many it can be just the thing. Before you do, though, have a think first.

Comments (11)


  • Gravatar for Tom

    1 February 24

    Kia ora Sam, thanks for commenting. Have a look at our KiwiSaver fund finder (under Tools above), which includes a star rating system regarding their services and communications. That should help your decision-making.

  • Gravatar for Sam

    31 January 24

    Is there a list somewhere with KiwiSaver providers ranked by how helpful their customer support is? I have recently separated from my wife, and part of our agreement is that I transfer some of my KiwiSaver into hers. My provider Mercer's support in this has been abysmal to the point where I'm considering to switch schemes and then try again - but I don't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

  • Gravatar for

    13 May 23

    Should they be allowed to charge a transfer fee if they are losing a customer? It sounds like they then benefit from poor service and performance.

  • Gravatar for

    1 May 23

    One key reason for a move not mentioned here is changing to a provider with a better ethos concerning ethical investment. Even better if they have accreditation with external accessors (e.g. RIAA). Interesting, some (not all) of your top picks are also good on ESG ratings.

  • Gravatar for Andrew

    21 November 22

    I changed to the Westpac cash fund and I am happy with it. I had suffered losses with a previous provider and won't go back to share market style investing if I can help it

  • Gravatar for Corey

    14 November 22

    What about serious illness withdrawal? I have once had my kiwisaver withdrawn because of a unfortunate serious injury I obtained, now I got opted in with out my authorisation when I was doing some part time work, I realised this after the job fell through and my head injury effected my ability to continue to work. Once returned home to family and found out through ird I have a kiwisaver scheme I immediately thought this can't be right. Now I face a hard time trying to withdraw it and why is that!!??

  • Gravatar for Shar

    23 June 22

    We are taking a huge risk, even if we are wanting to change providers, already giving the gloom about that. Let just say we cut our loss. We have been bullied into the saving scheme, that you and I know will never see the end result. 20 years of KiwiSaver and just under $18 000? I haven't seen it go past $18,500 in 2 years... a real insult to my hard working life.

  • Gravatar for Michael

    26 January 22

    I'm over 65 and I want to change providers but a bank person said that if I did I couldn't touch my funds for 5 years? That doesn't sound right to me. Is there a stand down period when switching?

  • Gravatar for Helen

    7 October 19

    This paragraph appears in both "good reasons" and "bad reasons" to switch:
    If you’ve read that another of your provider’s funds has been making higher returns than your current fund. Again, the returns are like waves: they don’t typically stay still, and you could be chasing something that’s already gone.

  • Gravatar for

    2 June 19

    Why is money always dropping. One day you look at your balance then boom few hundred goes maybe $2000 a year

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