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ING has become the first KiwiSaver provider to hit the $1 billion mark in funds under management.

ING head of KiwiSaver distribution David Boyle says the number of New Zealander's that have joined KiwiSaver is much greater than was expected when KiwiSaver was first launched in 2007.

"We're rapt to have reached the $1 billion mark, it's a milestone we're very proud to have achieved, " [head>] he says.

FundSource research shows that ING has been the leading KiwiSaver provider since the scheme started and that it has around 284, 000 members.

ING attributes its success to strong distribution channels through relationships with ANZ National Bank, independent advisers, and through being one of the default providers.

Boyle says the support from the advisory community has been wonderful and he firmly believes financial advice is an important component in making financial decisions.

"I think there will be a greater requirement for advice going forward as balances grow to make sure people are investing in the right type of funds for their circumstances, " he says.

Over head> the last year an average of 30 head>, 000 New Zealanders a month joined KiwiSaver.

It is expected that the growth of new membership will slow over the next year. However the Australian portability legislation scheme is expected to create new opportunities for growth by funds under management as New Zealanders evaluate the pros and cons associated to repatriating their funds back to New Zealand.

So far about 1. 25 million New Zealanders have joined the scheme of about 3. 8 million under 65 and eligible to join KiwiSaver. Head>

boyle says a focus for ing next year is to make sure those new zealander's that have not joined are aware of the benefits.

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