BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme Details

There's a lot more to selecting a KiwiSaver fund than just checking past returns and fees. If your hard-earned money is invested in KiwiSaver, you need to ask the important questions to understand where and how that money is invested.

What questions are important to Investors?

Note: The following information is taken from BNZ Kiwisaver Scheme's own website, fund updates, and the product disclosure statement published as of July 2023.

Review of the BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme

A short summary review of the KiwiSaver provider

Updated: 10 July 2023
Reviewed by: Raymond Hu

BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme review

The BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme is one of the larger KiwiSaver schemes in New Zealand. 

They offer seven different KiwiSaver Funds, ranging from a lower-risk cash fund to a higher-risk growth fund. A unique offering to the scheme is their First Home Buyer Fund, which aims to achieve relatively stable returns over the short to medium term.

BNZ uses a mixture of active and passive investment management across its funds. Each of their funds contain multiple asset classes (excluding the Cash Fund) managed by investment managers and the statement of investment policy and objectives (SIPO) and is reviewed at least once per year.

BNZ charges annual fund fees that range between 0.30%-0.45%. It is free to switch between different funds within the scheme and there are no joining or exit fees if you decide to switch providers. The provider does not charge any performance fees for any of its funds.

In general, the returns of BNZ managed funds in the last 5 to 10 years have been higher than the average KiwiSaver returns.

Changes within the BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme

In Sep 2021, BNZ reduced the fees for all of their funds to 0.45% per year, with the exception of the Cash Fund, which was reduced to 0.30% per year, and the Default Fund, which was reduced to 0.35% per year.

In May 2019, BNZ removed the annual membership fee of $24.30 from all its managed KiwiSaver schemes.

In closing

Based on past performance alone, for the past five years, BNZ has continuously performed higher than the average KiwiSaver fund after fees and taxes.

How does BNZ compare to others?

Best Performing KiwiSaver Funds

Kiwi Wealth Balanced
Milford Active Growth
High Growth
Booster SRI High Growth

*Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.

*List is of the highest 5-year returns A-rated funds as per our Investment Selection Process

*All returns are after fees and tax (28% PIR) as of the quarter ended 31st December 2023.

*Source: National Capital Research February 2024

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Latest News on BNZ

Useful news related to the BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme 

Who is BNZ?

Facts & History of the KiwiSaver provider


John Logan Campbell, Thomas Russell and other entrepreneurs founded various business enterprises in Auckland during the 1860s and later. 

These enterprises included the New Zealand Insurance Company (1859) and the Bank of New Zealand, which have closely associated with each other ever since.  The two companies were founded in time to take advantage of the gold finds which were beginning to be made in various parts of New Zealand. 

On 29 July, 1861, an Act to incorporate the proprietors of a certain Banking Co. called ‘The Bank of New Zealand’ and for other purposes was passed by Parliament.  This allowed the new corporation to carry on all the usual activities of a bank.  The bank was also empowered to issue its own bank notes.  The Deed of Settlement had already been signed on 2 July, 1861.

The first official meeting of the directors of the Bank of New Zealand took place on 2 October, 1861, with the first branch opening on Queen Street in Auckland a few weeks later on 16 October.


The BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme manages seven funds. They have total KiwiSaver Assets Under Management (AUM) of $NZ 4.8 billion and 239,380 KiwiSaver members. 

Who are the people looking after my money?

The investment team, structure and their alignment with clients

The Investment team

Dan Huggins - Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Dan Huggins was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in October 2021. Prior to that, he was BNZ’s Executive, Customer, Products & Services, from March 2020, having returned home to New Zealand after 13 years overseas.

Dan has 20 years of experience across a range of industries, including Banking, Retail, and Manufacturing. Prior to BNZ, Dan was at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) in Sydney, where, most recently, he held the role of Executive General Manager of Home Buying and was accountable for CBA’s home lending portfolio. Dan has also held roles at McKinsey & Company, Fonterra and ASB.

Peter MacGillivray - Executive, Chief Financial Officer

Peter MacGillivray was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) in March 2018. Prior to the appointment he held the role of Chief Operating Officer - Finance.

Peter has extensive local and international banking experience starting his career at BNZ as a graduate in 1996 and holding a variety of roles at the bank, including several senior leadership positions in Finance.
Peter’s experience includes working in the Strategic Management function of HSBC, based in London. He focused on building a strategic planning model for HSBC to optimise the company’s portfolio of businesses.

From 2009 Peter spent four years with NAB, based in Melbourne, as the Head of Business Intelligence. In this role he was responsible for leading the reporting and analytics function for NAB. Peter re-joined BNZ in December 2013, as COO – Finance.

Sam Perkins - Executive, Chief Risk Officer

Sam Perkins joined BNZ as Chief Risk Officer, in July 2018 and leads a team of risk specialists providing BNZ with world-class risk leadership, oversight, analysis and insight.

Before joining BNZ, Sam was Global Head - Operational Risk and Compliance, Institutional Banking, at ANZ.   Here he lead the Compliance and Operational Risk management function overseeing risks arising across the institutional business.  Prior to this he had spent 3 years as the Head of Wholesale Credit in ANZ New Zealand.

He started his financial career at ASB as a customer service consultant, before moving on to roles with American Express, and Standard Bank Group in London, Moscow and Johannesburg, amassing two decades of global experience in a range of credit, compliance and risk roles.

How is the Investment Team Structured?

BNZ is the Manager of BNZ KiwiSaver and their role is to decide how to invest the assets of the funds in the Scheme (Funds).

BNZ is currently using the skills and experience of an investment consultant to choose a range of underlying investment managers who ultimately choose the underlying investments the Funds invest in.

The Funds can invest directly in securities or by investing in underlying investment funds managed by BNZ or underlying investment managers.

Each of the Funds also holds cash for operational purposes in an interest-bearing bank account with the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ).

BNZ’s underlying investment managers are: 

  • Nikko Asset Management New Zealand Ltd
  • Harbour Asset Management Ltd
  • Columbia Threadneedle Investments
  • State Street Global Advisors, Australia, Ltd
  • Castle Point Funds Management Ltd
  • First Sentier Investors Realindex Pty Ltd
  • Mint Asset Management Ltd


BNZ is committed to managing conflicts of interest, by adopting BNZ’s Conflicts of Interest & Gifts Policy, which sets out BNZ’s policy and procedures that employees must follow. They may use related parties to provide services to the Funds, including staffing services, banking facilities and investments in other investment vehicles managed by them or related parties. They conduct all transactions with related parties of the Scheme on arms’ length commercial terms (as if the parties were independent) and follow the rules on related party transactions that apply to Managed Investment Schemes under the FMCA.

How do I know my money is safe?

Governance & Compliance processes

All KiwiSaver Scheme Providers must ensure they meet regulatory standards and act with customer interests in mind.

KiwiSaver Scheme Managers must exercise care, diligence, and skill in the investment of scheme assets, and act in accordance with the stated investment policy and objectives. The FMA monitors that KiwiSaver Schemes are compliant with their obligations. Additionally, KiwiSaver Scheme Trustees also have a responsibility as front-line supervisors for monitoring the management and administration of these schemes.

BNZ's Supervisor & Custodian 

A custodian plays a key role in protecting your investments. They hold your money and investments (i.e. keep custody of them) on your behalf. So they are the legal holder of your assets while you are the beneficial and ultimate owner. 

A supervisor is a licensed entity independent of a KiwiSaver scheme provider that supervises the provider’s management of the scheme. KiwiSaver schemes are trusts, and (except for restricted KiwiSaver schemes) the terms of the trust deed state that the supervisor (or another custodian) must hold all contributions and investments in trust for the investors.

BNZ’s Custodian and Supervisor is The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited (NZGT). As the custodian, NZGT is responsible for supervising the performance of BNZ’s duties as manager of the scheme. The Supervisor is independent of BNZ. 

As the custodian, NZGT holds the Scheme’s assets on trust for clients separately and independently from BNZ.

BNZ's Governance Process & Investment Monitoring

The BNZ Investment Review Committee (IRC) reviews the SIPO at least every year or sooner if appropriate. When the IRC reviews the SIPO, it considers BNZ’s investment philosophy and the Funds’ investment strategies and objectives. BNZ consults with the Supervisor prior to approving any changes to the SIPO and provides written notice of the changes to the Supervisor before the changes take place. 

BNZ monitors the Funds’ investment mixes regularly. If a Fund’s investment mix falls outside its allowable investment ranges, BNZ acts to bring the investment mix back within the allowable investment ranges. They do this by buying and selling assets: 

  • Within five working days, or 
  • As soon as reasonably practicable considering factors like the ability to buy or sell assets and transaction costs. 

The target investment mixes and allowable investment ranges represent the exposure to the Funds’ authorised investments. However, the assets within the authorised investments are not considered when rebalancing. 

BNZ regularly monitors and reports on the investment performance of the Funds and the underlying investment funds. BNZ monitors each Fund’s performance using a performance measure referred to as a benchmark index. As the Funds have multiple asset classes (except the Cash Fund), every month they monitor performance against a mix of market indices detailed in Section 5 of the SIPO.

The performance of each asset class is monitored every month against the respective market indices in Section 5 of the SIPO. The performance of the Funds and each asset class is measured over one, three and six-month periods, one year, and where applicable, further annualised periods (that is, three years, five years and since inception).

How do they decide where to invest?

The investment processes followed by the manager

Investment Philosophy

BNZ's investment philosophy beliefs are:

  • The mix of investments a fund holds (asset allocation) has the largest influence on the level of risk and potential return.
  • A well-diversified portfolio of investments helps investors meet their investment goals.
  • Higher potential returns often come with more ups and downs (volatility) along the way. Accepting higher levels of volatility over the short term means there is the potential for higher returns over the long term. This volatility is often referred to as risk.
  • It’s important that the fees and charges investors pay are cost-effective, so that they get to keep more of their returns.
  • Both active management (selecting and trading specific investments) and passive management (automatically purchasing and selling investments to mirror the holdings of an index) have a place in investment management.
  • Incorporating environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) into our investment process is important, as these factors are drivers of sustainable long-term returns.

Investment Process 

BNZ builds Funds containing multiple asset classes (except for the Cash Fund) and investments by investing in the investment funds of, or securities managed by, the expert investment managers we have selected.

Where underlying investment funds are used the investment managers of those funds will select the securities or other managed funds they invest in, within their investment guidelines. 

Transactions within the underlying investment funds are carried out by the investment managers of those funds, or a third party delegated this function by these investment managers.

BNZ hedges in the following ways: 

    • International fixed interest: BNZ aims to hedge 100% of the Scheme’s international fixed interest investments to the New Zealand dollar.
    • International equities: BNZ aims to hedge 60% of the Scheme’s international equity investments to the New Zealand dollar. From time to time they may target a different hedging position to this. BNZ is allowed to hedge between 0% and 100% of the Scheme’s international equity investments to the New Zealand dollar. 
    • Australian equities within the Australasian equities asset class: BNZ aims to hedge 100% of the foreign currency exposure arising from the Australian equities held in the Funds to the New Zealand dollar.

Does BNZ Invest responsibly?

Social and Ethical Considerations

Socially responsible investing (SRI) or Environmental, Social and Governance investing (ESG), also known as sustainable, socially conscious, “green” or ethical investing, is any investment strategy which seeks to consider both financial return and social/environmental good to bring about social change regarded as positive by society.

Basically, SRI investing is investing in companies that have a positive impact on society, based on a number of factors.

Responsible Investment Policy

BNZ believes that integrating environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) into their investment process is important as these factors are drivers of sustainable long-term returns. In general, BNZ Responsible Investment (RI) activities are expected to support positive long-term outcomes for investors. In rare circumstances, it may exclude companies or sectors from consideration for investment based on non-investment-related factors. BNZ prefers to utilise active ownership levers such as engagement and proxy voting to effect change, and will only utilise divestment and exclusions as a last resort. 

Ethical Exclusions

It is BNZ’s preference to invest via mandates with managers wherever possible. Where mandates are in place with investment managers, BNZ expects to be able to exclude certain sectors in accordance with their policy. Where BNZ gains its exposure via commingled funds, it may not be feasible to apply exclusions due to the commingled nature of the investment. 

The decision to exclude particular sectors takes account of the following considerations, to the extent that they are applicable: 

  1. The regulatory environment. 
  2. The materiality of the issue. 
  3. The impact on the risk and return of BNZ’s investment products. 
  4. The effectiveness of engagement.  
  5. Alignment with BNZ’s brand, values, and lending policies.

BNZ’s excluded sectors are: 

  • Cluster Munitions
  • Land Mines
  • Nuclear weapons systems
  • Tobacco 
  • Assault weapons 
  • Whaling 
  • Gambling
  • Adult entertainment
  • Oil & gas
  • Coal