What the fund finder does

The KiwiSaver fund finder:

  • Supports you to compare and select a fund from the entire KiwiSaver market, based on key criteria:
    • The appropriate level of risk for your situation
    • The estimated fees you are likely to pay over your entire KiwiSaver experience
    • The quantity and type of services offered by a given KiwiSaver provider
    • The fund’s performance over the past five years, allowing you to avoid those funds that have been subpar compared to others of the same type in similar market conditions
  • Profiles your risk based on your time horizon and attitude towards volatility. It then helps you focus on one of the five KiwiSaver fund types – defensive, conservative, balanced, growth or aggressive – that is most appropriate for your situation. The fund types are based on the proportion of growth assets (shares, commercial property, some derivatives) that each fund holds.
  • Calculates the total fees likely to be charged by KiwiSaver providers up to the time you retire. KiwiSaver providers automatically deduct their fees from your KiwiSaver account balance to meet management, administration and other costs. Fees cover more than just the costs of providing the investment return. They also vary depending on the risk level of the fund you choose and on the contributions you and your employer make.
  • Sorts KiwiSaver funds in each category by the estimated fees, the level of services that the KiwiSaver provider offers, and investment returns over the past five years. You can immediately see the least- and most-expensive funds, the providers offering the most services, and the highest- and lowest-performing funds. The tool also displays average fee levels and returns for the type of fund being sorted – so you can see how a fund compares with others in the category over identical time periods.
  • Displays service ratings for KiwiSaver providers, based on our six-monthly survey gathering data on the range of member services currently being offered. The survey mirrors the present KiwiSaver market. The star ratings are based on weighted scores, acknowledging that certain member services are more significant than others. Specific scores out of 5 are also included for providers’ communications and investment support to members.
  • Links directly to more detailed fund information on the Smart Investor platform.

The assumptions behind the fund finder

Fund data is sourced from the Companies Office Disclose Register. The key assumption made in this tool is that KiwiSaver providers have accurately disclosed data for each of their KiwiSaver funds, as well as for the services and communications that they offer.

Contributions

The KiwiSaver fund finder assumes:

  • Long-term inflation averages 2%.
  • If you select Employed, your pay increases at 3.5% per year and your contributions increase in line with your pay. The assumed pay increase of 3.5% is included in the calculations by applying a margin to the assumed long-term rate of inflation (2%).
  • If you select Self-employed or Not working, your contribution amount increases each year with inflation.
  • You have no savings suspensions.
  • No amounts are withdrawn for a first home.
  • Government contributions worth a maximum of $521 are included at the end of each member credit year (1 July to 30 June). To receive the total government contribution you must be a KiwiSaver member for the entire year.
  • Your contributions, any employer contributions and the government's contributions all earn returns in line with the fund's investment mix.

Provider fees

The KiwiSaver fund finder assumes:

  • The current provider fee structure remains in place for the entire duration of KiwiSaver membership for all schemes.
  • The tool includes GST if the provider has advised that it applies to their fees.
  • Non-specific fees (if no specific details are given in the prospectus) vary for each provider and are between 0% and 0.3% of the funds under management.
  • Future investment returns are projected as follows:

Fund type

28.0% tax rate

17.5%

10.5%

Defensive

1.5%

1.6%

1.9%

Conservative

2.5%

2.7%

3.0%

Balanced

3.5%

3.8%

4.1%

Growth

4.5%

4.9%

5.2%

Aggressive

5.5%

6.0%

6.3%

 

Provider services

The KiwiSaver fund finder assumes:

  • KiwiSaver providers offer a similar level of services to all their members, across all fund types.
  • Not all services are rated equally – services such as free financial advice, for example, receive a higher rating than a webpage.
  • Providers have responded to our six-monthly survey and accurately captured the quantity of services offered to members.

Fund finder methodology

The KiwiSaver fund finder collects the following information from you:

  • Age
  • Retirement age
  • Whether you are employed, self-employed, or not working
  • Income before tax
  • KiwiSaver balance
  • Contribution rate
  • Employer contribution rate (if you are an employee)

How your risk level is measured

If you indicated you are unsure of the type of fund you are looking for, it then gauges your:

  • Time horizon (how soon you intend to use your KiwiSaver money)
  • Comfort level with a percentage gain or loss over a given year
  • Attitude towards ups and downs in value of your KiwiSaver fund

Your answers are scored and you are directed towards one of the five types of funds.

  • If you answer 0–3 years to the time question, you go into defensive or conservative, depending on how you answer the other two questions.
  • If you answer 4–9 years, you go into defensive, conservative or balanced, depending on how you answer the other two questions.
  • If you answer 10 years or more, you go into defensive, conservative, balanced, growth or aggressive, depending on how you answer the other two questions.

This means that no one, even a risk lover, is directed to anything riskier than conservative for less than 3 years, or anything riskier than balanced for less than 10 years.

How the fund types are grouped

We’ve grouped KiwiSaver funds based on the proportion of growth assets (shares, commercial property and some derivatives, which tend to be riskier) that they held in the most recent quarter reported.

  • Defensive funds held 0% to 9.9% in growth assets.
  • Conservative funds held 10% to 34.9% in growth assets.
  • Balanced funds held 35% to 62.9% in growth assets.
  • Growth funds held 63% to 89.9% in growth assets.
  • Aggressive funds held 90% to 100% in growth assets.

How the fees are calculated

The fund finder uses the data collected to calculate your contributions. It then adds the assumed investment earnings based on the fund type (see table above for the assumptions used).

For each fund in the database, the calculator takes the contributions, adds the assumed investment earnings, adds future contributions and subtracts the expected fees that will be charged each period. The fees are totalled up and converted to the equivalent in today's dollar.

The fund finder also makes the above calculation for the average of each type of fund. You can easily compare each fund to the average of the same type to get an idea of the context, and whether a fund is more or less expensive than a typical fund.

How the service ratings are compiled

The level of service a provider offers is an important factor when choosing a KiwiSaver fund. Sorted surveys KiwiSaver providers every six months to find out how many different ways they help their members with investment options, communicate with members, and the extra services they offer.

So our overall star ratings are more about the quantity rather than the quality of services they offer. You can also see specific ratings out of 5 for their communications and investment help.

The survey responses are collected and weighted, as some service features are more significant than others. For services that are particularly important or that most providers are not likely to do, such as proactively contacting members to remind them to get the government contribution, more points are awarded. Each provider is then scored accordingly.

If a particular service matters to you, check whether your provider offers it by reading their website, or phoning or emailing them.

How the five-year returns are sourced

KiwiSaver providers are required by law to disclose their results in prescribed ways, which typically happens each quarter ending 31 March, 30 June, 30 September and 31 December. This data is collected on the Companies Office Disclose Register and then made available to the public.

We directly feed the data into the fund finder to report to you the average annual growth for each fund over the past five years. This data does not indicate what will happen in the future, but it’s useful to compare funds over similar timeframes and in similar market conditions.

The fund finder calculates an average five-year return for each type of fund so you can easily compare one fund’s results to others of the same type. If you see consistently poor returns while comparing KiwiSaver funds, it may be a sign of poor management.

FAQs

What is the KiwiSaver fund finder?

The KiwiSaver fund finder is an online tool from Sorted to help you select a KiwiSaver fund according to key criteria. It lets you compare different funds’ fees and performance, as well as the services offered by providers. It also helps you decide whether you are in the best KiwiSaver fund for you.

What does it do?

The KiwiSaver fund finder displays data on hundreds of KiwiSaver funds in a simple and standardised format. It provides averages across similar types of funds to allow quick comparisons. The tool also includes a short questionnaire to help you work out how much risk to take.

Who would find it useful?

The tool is for anyone currently in KiwiSaver or thinking about joining. It lets you compare KiwiSaver funds, check the fund you’re currently in, or pick funds for family members, for instance.

It is also essential for anyone wanting to learn about the key criteria for choosing a KiwiSaver fund: the right amount of risk, the fees involved and the services offered. Looking at past performance can be useful too, although it does not predict how a fund will do in the future.

Does it cover only KiwiSaver funds?

The fund finder data is only from KiwiSaver funds and their providers.

Because it is limited to KiwiSaver, you’ll need to take into account any other significant investments you have outside of KiwiSaver. For example, if you have lots of low-risk bank term deposits, you may want a higher-risk KiwiSaver fund than the tool suggests. Or if you have shares, where the risk level can vary widely, you may want a higher- or lower-risk KiwiSaver fund. If you’re not sure, you might want to seek help from a financial adviser.

Where does the data come from?

Providers of investment offers in New Zealand are required by law to communicate key facts so investors can make informed choices. The data and documents are collected on a central register called Disclose.

The KiwiSaver fund finder takes this information and displays it in a way that’s easy to find, compare and understand.

It also includes information about the services and communications that KiwiSaver providers offer you – based on their responses to our six-monthly provider survey.

What time period is this data based on?

Fees are the total cost you can expect to pay in a given fund by the time you retire. Estimates are based on current fee levels, your balance and how long until you retire.

The services percentage is based on weighted responses to the most recent six-monthly provider survey. It refers to how many important customer services a provider offers you.

The returns shown are how the fund performed (after fees and tax) for the five years up to the most recent quarter (31 March, 30 June, 30 September, 31 December). In general, it’s good to look at the longest possible time period when assessing returns.

How often is this information updated?

KiwiSaver providers are required by law to make data publicly available each quarter. The KiwiSaver fund finder will update weekly from the Disclose register, if new information becomes available.

The information on provider services is based on a six-monthly survey.

How have the funds been grouped?

We’ve grouped KiwiSaver funds based on the proportion of growth assets (shares, commercial property and some derivatives, which tend to be riskier) that they held in the last reporting period.

  • Defensive funds held 0% to 9.9% in growth assets.
  • Conservative funds held 10% to 34.9% in growth assets.
  • Balanced funds held 35% to 62.9% in growth assets.
  • Growth funds held 63% to 89.9% in growth assets.
  • Aggressive funds held 90% to 100% in growth assets.

Note that these ranges are quite wide for conservative, balanced and growth funds. This can make it tricky to compare funds within a category.

For example, Balanced Fund A might hold just 35% in growth assets, while Balanced Fund B holds 62%. In periods when growth assets perform well, returns for Fund B are likely to be higher just because it holds more growth assets. But if growth assets then perform badly, Fund B is likely to do worse than Fund A.

When comparing the returns of two funds within a fund type, take into account what each fund holds. If you look at the details and actual allocations for different funds in this category, you can find those with the proportion of growth assets you need.

Disclaimer

  • Our Sorted tools and calculators are for personal use only. The information shown is not personalised financial advice, nor advice to invest in a specific fund.
  • The data is stored entirely separate from your personal credentials and remains completely anonymous (ie, nothing can be identified). The non-identifiable data is stored on secure systems. Here’s our privacy policy.
  • All fees stated are subject to change in accordance with the offer and governing documents of each scheme.
  • The KiwiSaver returns used to calculate the total fees paid are illustrative only and do not reflect the actual or prospective performance of any KiwiSaver scheme or investment fund.
  • The returns to members of a KiwiSaver scheme are subject to investment and other risks, including loss of income and principal invested, and are not guaranteed. Returns will vary depending on the investment performance of the chosen investment fund or investment funds.
  • We do not accept any liability for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of the use of, or reliance on, the information provided on these pages including, without limitation, any loss of profit or other damage, direct or consequential.