Huljich does another KiwiSaver deal

Huljich Wealth Management has finalised another distribution deal to sell its KwiSaver funds to the public.

It has formed a strategic sales alliance with financial services company, DorchesterLife to sell its funds.

Huljich already sells its funds through distribution deals with NZF Money and Mike Pero Mortgages.

Currently Huljich has around 45,000 KiwiSaver members and more than $60 million in funds under management.

DorchesterLife has a team of nationwide sales agents which will sell Huljich KiwiSaver alongside the DorchesterLife range of insurance and savings products.

“We recognised the growing acceptance of the KiwiSaver concept amongst our target market, and wanted to align ourselves with the best scheme provider out there,” DorchesterLife chief executive, Henry Lynch says.

Huljich managing director Peter Huljich says “a sales relationship with such an established and experienced financial services company like DorchesterLife is key to the success of our KiwiSaver product, and we believe they will open up a whole new market for us.”

Recession no deterrent to KiwiSaver

The deepest recession in more than 30 years has failed to dent New Zealanders’ appetite for KiwiSaver, according to the latest update by the tax department.

Over the past six months, some 190,000 New Zealanders have signed up to the government-sponsored retirement scheme, taking total enrolments to more than 1.1 million.

The trend has mirrored that of ING New Zealand, the largest KiwiSaver provider, which has more than 253,000 members.

“While some people expected the trend for enrolments might suffer in the current climate, all the data from the last six months has been positive and consistent,” said David Boyle, head of KiwiSaver distribution at ING.

“We are now seeing increasing numbers of New Zealanders actively saving for their retirement and a much greater understanding that the earlier people start a good savings regime, the better off they will be when they come to retire.”  

KiwiSaver was launched by the previous administration a little over two years ago and surpassed the target uptake of one million members by 2015.

The National-led government’s decision to cut the minimum contribution to 2% has been credited with helping sustain new membership enrolments.  

Last month, the Australian and New Zealand governments agreed to superannuation portability, allowing the transfer of approved between the countries.

This could see a “considerable” amount of some $16.6 billion in superannuation accounts the Australian tax office can’t account for flow across the Tasman to New Zealand, according to Finance Minister Bill English.  

An aging population is expected to place undue hardship on the New Zealand economy, and Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard told a business audience in July that increased national savings was “critical” to rebalancing the economy.  

“Private savings plans will need to take account of these pressures in the future,” he said. 

Boyle is pleased with the age group spread in the IRD’s latest data, with 32% of new members in the 18-34 years-old demographic, and 30% in the 35-54 bracket, and said it indicates people are saving for retirement from an earlier age.


KiwiSaver growth funds bounce back into positive territory

After a difficult 18 months KiwiSaver growth funds were the stand out performers in the quarter to June 30, 2009 producing a median return of 7.9% according to Mercer’s KiwiSaver Survey.

The best performing growth fund over the quarter was the Mercer High Growth Fund (+12.2%), while the Fidelity Life Growth Fund was the best performing growth fund for the past twelve months (-5.7%). Over the past year the median growth fund return was -12.6%.

Martin Lewington, Head of Mercer in New Zealand said the survey results highlights the folly of placing too much emphasis on the short-term returns of a long-term investment vehicle.

“Growth funds have struggled over the past 18 months but they were able to reap the benefits of a return of confidence in global stock markets over the past few months. Those investors who were spooked by the events of the global financial crisis and moved their savings to a more conservative fund will have missed the rebound in the markets.

“While conservative funds may have produced the best overall result for the past 12 months, it is likely that the majority of members would be better suited to a balanced or growth fund, which is expected to provide higher longer-term returns.

“The key outtake for KiwiSaver members is that while returns are important to consider, the salient point is to choose the type of fund that is most appropriate for your life stage and investment horizon.”

Mercer’s KiwiSaver Survey June 2009 is Mercer’s first survey to track the returns of KiwiSaver funds. The survey will be updated each quarter and will provides returns of funds covering four categories: default – which comprises the six KiwiSaver default providers and their respective default schemes; conservative – funds with a weighting of 20-39% growth assets; balanced – funds with a weighting of 40-60% growth assets and growth – funds with 61-100% growth assets.

  • The best performing default fund over the quarter was the Mercer KiwiSaver Conservative Fund (+5.4%), while the ASB Conservative Fund was the best performing over the last 12 months (+3.2%).
  • The best performing conservative fund over the quarter was the Mercer Conservative Fund (+6.7%), while the AMP Conservative Fund was the best performing over the last 12 months (+4.2%).
  • The best performing balanced fund over the quarter was the Mercer Active Balanced Fund (+9.9%), while the Fidelity Life Balanced Fund was the best performing over the last 12 months    (-0.1%).
  • The best performing growth fund over the quarter was the Mercer High Growth Fund (+12.2%), while the Fidelity Life Growth Fund was the best performing over the last 12 months (-5.7%).

Lewington said the survey should give funds and members a level playing field on which to compare KiwiSaver returns but noted that the returns stated in the survey are before tax and after management fees (gross of tax and net of fees).

“We have reported the returns in this way to give a comparison across all funds, but having said that, at Mercer we believe the most accurate method of comparing KiwiSaver funds is on returns after tax and fees. Reporting this way will enable members to know the exact return on their fund after tax has been deducted – this can vary significantly between funds and providers. But until all players in the industry report in this method, members will have to settle for a system of reporting after fees but before tax is deducted to make comparisons.”

Mercer also notes that improving financial literacy will help members better navigate the complexities in the system and understand the importance of selecting the most appropriate investment option.

“While reports such as this are important for members, improving financial literacy so that members can better understand and maximise their KiwiSaver scheme remains an important issue in this country – and we have an important window of opportunity to do so now.

“The Australian experience suggests, as the value of KiwiSaver funds increase members will take a greater interest in their fund.  We call it the ‘second-hand car phenomenon’ – when the value of the investor’s scheme reaches the value of a second-hand car investors suddenly take a lot more interest in the type of fund they are in and the performance of their fund manager.

“In this new financial year when members are attuned to the recent woes caused by the global financial crisis but also have now been contributing to KiwiSaver for a couple of years the impetus to improve financial literacy will be even greater,” Lewington concluded.

Industry opts-in to KiwiSaver

Bemused delegates at last month’s Superfunds Conference in Wellington heard how KiwiSaver might revitalise the savings industry or just waste everybody’s time (and money). David Chaplin reports. Continue reading Industry opts-in to KiwiSaver