Choosing your KiwiSaver scheme
You can choose which scheme to join, even if you're provisionally allocated to an employer-chosen scheme or a default scheme.
Definition of scheme
A KiwiSaver scheme is where your savings are invested. All KiwiSaver schemes are registered with the Financial Markets Authority and offered and managed by KiwiSaver providers.
You can choose from a wide range of schemes offered by a number of providers.
You can change your KiwiSaver scheme at any time, but you can only belong to one KiwiSaver scheme at a time.
You can choose from a wide range of schemes offered by a variety of organisations - from the big name banks, insurance companies and investment managers, through to specialist or boutique managers. Once you've joined KiwiSaver, your primary relationship will be with your KiwiSaver provider. Here is a list of KiwiSaver scheme providers.
KiwiSaver is not guaranteed by the Government. This means you make your investment choices in a KiwiSaver scheme at your own risk.
However, all KiwiSaver schemes are regulated by the Financial Markets Authority in a similar way to other registered superannuation schemes. There are additional measures in place to make sure KiwiSaver schemes are competitive and members' best interests are looked after. For example:
- all KiwiSaver schemes are required to have fees that are not unreasonable
- default providers have a special contract with Government that requires them to meet additional reporting requirements, and
- default providers' activities and their default investment funds are closely monitored.
You can, at any time, choose to join the KiwiSaver scheme of your choice.
If you're automatically enrolled you'll be provisionally allocated to your employer's chosen scheme or to a default scheme. You can choose to stay in that scheme or change to a different one.
If you choose your own KiwiSaver scheme within the first 3 months of starting your new job, your contributions will go directly to your chosen scheme (not the one you were provisionally allocated to).
You can change schemes at any time.
Your employer can choose to have a preferred KiwiSaver scheme for employees who don't choose a scheme of their own. All new permanent employees must be eligible to be members of the scheme. If you're automatically enrolled in KiwiSaver you'll be provisionally allocated to your employer's chosen scheme.
What happens if you're no longer eligible?
Some employer chosen schemes may have defined membership criteria, for example working in a certain profession. If you become ineligible to be a member of your employer's chosen KiwiSaver scheme, then:
- your employer, or the provider, must notify both you and Inland Revenue in writing, and
- you can join a different KiwiSaver scheme, or
- Inland Revenue will provisionally allocate you to a default KiwiSaver scheme and give you 3 months to choose your own scheme. If you don't choose another scheme within 3 months, Inland Revenue will confirm your enrolment in the default scheme.
Default KiwiSaver providers
If you don't choose your own scheme, and your employer doesn't have a chosen scheme, Inland Revenue will allocate you to one of the 5 government-appointed default providers:
- AMP Services (NZ) Limited
- ASB Group Investments Limited
- OnePath (NZ) Limited
- Mercer (NZ) Limited
- TOWER Managed Funds Limited.
If you are allocated to a default provider's KiwiSaver scheme your KiwiSaver contributions will be invested in the scheme's conservative investment fund option.
The Sorted website has more information about funds, providers, investment types and fees.
Definition of provider
A KiwiSaver provider is an organisation that offers a KiwiSaver scheme and is responsible for managing your savings in the scheme.
Once you've joined KiwiSaver, your primary relationship will be with your KiwiSaver provider. You should contact your scheme provider if you have any questions about your KiwiSaver membership and account.