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.
Note: The following information is taken from Christian Kiwisaver Scheme's own website, fund updates, and the product disclosure statement published as of July 2023.
A short summary review of the KiwiSaver provider
Updated: 19th July 2023
Reviewed by: Raymond Hu
Christian KiwiSaver Scheme review
The Christian KiwiSaver scheme is for people within New Zealand's active Christian community and is open to all Christian denominations. The scheme is managed by The New Zealand Anglican Church Pension Board.
They offer three KiwiSaver funds; the lower-risk Income Fund, the medium-risk Balanced Fund and the higher-risk Growth Fund. Christian KiwiSaver focuses on ethical investment principles, reflecting Christian values.
Its investing approach consists of actively choosing which investments to include in its funds, with a key focus on protecting its members' hard-earned money. The provider avoids investments in companies with involvement in activities such as fossil fuels, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, animal cruelty, and defence.
Christian KiwiSaver charges annual fund fees in the range of 0.80%-1.50%. The provider does not charge any performance fees for any of its funds. Customers under 18 are charged no fees.
In general, the returns of Christian KiwiSaver funds in the last 5 years have been around the average KiwiSaver returns.
Changes within the Christian KiwiSaver Scheme
In Sep 2020, Christian KiwiSaver reduced the fees for all of their funds. Its Growth Fund was reduced from 1.60% to 1.50%, its Balanced Fund from 1.50% to 1.35%, and its Income Fund from 1.00% to 0.80%.
Christian KiwiSaver is designed for New Zealand's Christian community. Based on past performance alone, over the past 5 years, Christian KiwiSaver's active investing approach has led it to continuously perform around the average KiwiSaver fund after fees and taxes.
Useful news related to the Christian KiwiSaver Scheme
Facts & History of the KiwiSaver provider
The Christian KiwiSaver Scheme provides eligible Christians with an opportunity to invest in a KiwiSaver scheme that is founded on ethical investment principles that the scheme believes reflect Christian values, notably their care when dealing with others, their ethical stance and their financial stewardship.
Importantly, even though they make choices based on an ethical policy, they do not make concessions about their performance. They evaluate investment performance against their peers.
This Scheme was established in 2007 shortly after the Government introduced KiwiSaver. The New Zealand Anglican Church Pension Board was already managing retirement schemes for the Anglican clergy and employees of religious charitable organisations under a mandate to invest ethically. This mandate and culture naturally flowed into the Christian KiwiSaver Scheme.
The Scheme was originally under the Koinonia (koy-nohn-ee’-ah) brand. Koinonia was the Anglicisation of a Greek word used in the New Testament of the Bible to describe the relationships within the early Christian church. The essential meaning of koinonia embraces concepts conveyed by the English terms fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, and sharing – all attributes that continue to be relevant to the Scheme.
In 2018 the Scheme was renamed Christian KiwiSaver Scheme. As it is a KiwiSaver scheme that is offered only to people within the active Christian community, they felt the new name made this easier to understand and better explained their unique place in the market.
Christian KiwiSaver Scheme sits under the management of The New Zealand Anglican Church Pension Board. The Board is the Trustee and the Manager of the Christian KiwiSaver Scheme. The Board was established by the General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia in 1972 and reports to that body (or its Standing Committee).
✅ New Zealand Based Provider
The Christian KiwiSaver Scheme has total KiwiSaver Assets Under Management (AUM) of over $NZ 88 million and 2,134 KiwiSaver clients.
The investment team, structure and their alignment with clients
Brendan O’Donovan - Chair
Brendan is a professional director with over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. He has been a trustee for a number of superannuation funds and was a member of the Board from 2017 to 2021. Brendan joined their Investment Committee in 2017 and is currently the Chair of the Investment Committee.
Don is a business consultant with more than 30 years of experience in the superannuation industry. He is an associate actuary and a member of the Institute of Directors. Don was a member of the Board from 1989 to 2012 and its Chair from 2003 to 2012.
Simon Brodie - Chief Investment Officer
Simon joined the Pension Board’s investment team in 2011 and was appointed Chief Investment Officer in 2014. Prior to this, Simon worked for Tower Asset Management for 23 years, where he was Head of Global Equities, acting Head of Strategy and Chief Investment Officer.
Bruce Dutton - Manager, Superannuation & Trusts
Bruce joined the Board in 1994 and has over 35 years of experience in the superannuation industry. Prior to joining the staff, he worked for Tower for 10 years in its actuarial and superannuation divisions. Bruce manages the administration and compliance team.
Rosemary Hambling - Financial Planning
Rosemary has extensive experience in investment markets having worked for major Australasian financial institutions for over 30 years, specialising in discretionary portfolio management and investment governance. She currently works in retail product governance. Rosemary set up Women in Super in 2002 to improve financial literacy on retirement saving for women and was a government appointee to the Government Superannuation Appeals Board. She is a member of INFINZ. She joined the Investment Committee in June 2021.
Wayne has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, including 24 years in estate and asset planning with leading New Zealand trust companies. More latterly, he has been a financial adviser for a Wellington-based financial advisory firm. Wayne is a trustee of the St Peters (Wellington) Endowment Trust Board. He was appointed to the Investment Committee in March 2021.
Andrew has over 35 years of experience in the investment and superannuation industries. Currently, he is a professional director and independent investment consultant specialising in strategic portfolio management. Prior to this, Andrew was employed as Head of Asset Consulting for a global asset manager.
Kevyn is a principal of Gould Steele & Co and has been a stockbroker for more than 35 years. He is a member of The Institute of Financial Professionals and an Authorised Financial Advisor.
Ross is a professional director and management consultant. In recent years he has chaired or served on the boards of Crown entities and companies, as well as private sector companies and charitable trust boards. During his 30-year career in public service, which culminated in his appointment as Deputy State Services Commissioner, Ross was a Principal in the New Zealand Debt Management Office of The Treasury, working in the US and Euro-financial markets in New York and London. He was appointed to the Investment Committee in December 2019.
Suzanne has over 30 years of experience in large commercial enterprises as a board member and senior executive. Suzanne also has broad experience in the not-for-profit and charitable sectors. Suzanne joined the Investment Committee in November 2021.
The Trustee has devolved the exercise of its power of investment, but not its investment responsibilities, to an Investment Committee. The Committee is appointed in accordance with section 4.9(a) of Title B Canon XIV, part of the Code of Canons of the Anglican Church.
The Committee has developed an Investment Policies, Authorities and Limits (PALs) document which sets out the context within which it works.
The Committee maintains a conflict of interest policy, and each Committee member is required to disclose interests which the member believes may have the potential to lead to conflicts or may be relevant to the perception of their conduct as a member of the Committee.
The Committee oversees the implementation of the investment strategy for each Fund which involves investing that Fund’s assets (excluding forests and forest land) in The New Zealand Anglican Church Pension Board Investment Trust (Investment Trust), an underlying investment fund of which Christian KiwiSaver are the trustee.
The scheme employ professional investment management staff who are accountable for:
The manager and the Investment Committee maintain conflict of interest policies. Members of the Board and the Investment Committee are required to disclose interests which they believe may have the potential to lead to conflicts of interest or may be relevant to the perception of their conduct as a member of the Board and/or the Investment Committee.
Notwithstanding the interests of the parties which have appointed them, all of the Board’s members must act honestly and in the members’ best interests, treat members equitably and not use Scheme information either for improper advantage or to cause detriment to members. The Board must also, in exercising any power or performing any duty, exercise the care, diligence and skill that a prudent person engaged in that profession would exercise in those circumstances. Christian KiwiSaver has a Licensed Independent Trustee as a member of the Board, as required by the FMCA.
Where the Board has entered, or enters, into any transaction providing for a related party benefit (as defined in the FMCA) to be given:
If any particular conflicts of interest do arise in relation to the Scheme then the Board’s members will identify and record those conflicts and take steps to manage them (as appropriate) on a case by case basis. Those steps might include (for example):
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.
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 states that the supervisor (or another custodian) must hold all contributions and investments in trust for the investors.
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.
As Christian KiwiSaver is a restricted KiwiSaver scheme, it, therefore, does not have a supervisor or external custodian.
The Committee reports to the Trustee on a quarterly basis.
The reporting includes a commentary on the current state of the markets, a commentary on the investment strategy and tactical asset allocation decisions, performance reports (and supporting commentary) including gross returns (three year returns versus SIPO return targets in relation to inflation), returns relative to benchmarks (by asset class), attribution analysis (the contribution of asset allocation, stock selection and hedging to overall performance, by asset class) and return relative to peers.
The manager monitors the Funds each month for compliance with the investment objectives, strategies and policies in the SIPO. Each Fund has limits on the amount of income assets (such as cash and cash equivalents and fixed interest) and growth assets (such as equities and alternative assets) it can hold. If a Fund moves outside a limit they will correct the allocation of assets for that Fund within five working days of discovering this or as soon as practicable where circumstances are outside their control (such as a suspension in market trading).
The investment processes followed by the manager
The Trustee incorporates responsible investment practices, including consideration of environmental, social, and governance factors, within the investment policies and procedures of the Scheme as at the date of the SIPO.
In particular, they use a leading provider of corporate governance and responsible investment research when considering investing in equities. They also have a relationship with the UK based Church Investors Group, which enables further insights into ethical matters and provides them with an opportunity to vote on equity investments with like-minded investors.
They administer and invest the Scheme in a manner that they believe is consistent with Christian values, recognising that economic decisions involve ethical choices. The Christian tradition recognises that these ethical choices are made in a world marred by human failure and its consequences. Yet the Church still seeks goodness and the growth of human flourishing and believes God is active in restoring the world.
They have investment policies for entities whose activities involve the production or retail of alcohol, livestock management or animal testing, armaments and defence, fossil fuels, gambling, pornography and tobacco. While these sectors would traditionally be excluded from our portfolios, they recognise that some entities within some of these sectors may be adopting and practicing corporate responsibility policies which weigh against the misuse and harm related to their business activities. In such cases, they consider that exclusion may be inappropriate and inconsistent with God’s redemptive purpose and the transition to a better world.
Establishing an investment strategy involves ensuring alignment between agreed investment objectives and the structure of the Scheme’s investments. The strategy setting process includes consideration of:
The investment strategy is formulated with reference to the risk and return objectives for the Funds, as well as the considerations listed above.
The investment strategy is reviewed every three years, and more frequently if required. Normally, an independent consultant is engaged to produce a report recommending one or more investment strategies for each Fund. The report is discussed by the Committee, which makes recommendations to the Trustee accordingly.
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, including environmental, social, and governance considerations, is taken into account in the investment policies and procedures of the Christian KiwiSaver Scheme (the Scheme).
In common with the United Nations 2006 Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), the Scheme’s Responsible Investment policy and practice includes environmental, social and governance considerations but also includes other considerations which can be termed ethical, socially responsible, or sustainable. The Trustee is serious about responsible investment because ethical considerations, in keeping with Christian values, are integral to the Scheme’s investment process.
The scheme takes into account the following, but is not limited to:
Industry: Specific industries may be excluded on grounds that the operations/activities display a moral hazard, e.g. tobacco is injurious to health, and alcohol may be considered an addictive drug. In general terms, the Trustee would exclude from the portfolio a company which was largely involved in the production of beer but may include a wine producer, as many churches use wine in the communion service.
Company Style and Governance: Within a particular industry, certain companies may be excluded for the reason that a part of their activities includes some of the above exposures, their governance is open to question, or the directors are considered to be unsuitable people upon whom to place investment trust. An example could be a food company, the industry being acceptable, but a specific exposure may be considered undesirable.
Environment: The Trustee is selective in its fossil fuel investments, avoiding certain sectors and investing positively in energy companies that rank favourably on qualitative environmental, social and governance measures. The Trustee has direct exposure to forestry which they regard as a sustainable investment playing a part in mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide.
Employment: While recognising that employees do not always show loyalty to their employers, it is equally true that the reverse is also the case. The manufacturing base of Western economies has been transferred to low-cost countries to utilise cheap labour. Conditions are often sub-standard in addition to the low rates of pay. The Trustee recognises that each country has its own cost structure and that, therefore, rates of pay should be fair and reasonable in relation to that country’s cost of living. Consequently, it is the relative working conditions which are of importance.
Executive Pay: The Trustee views executive pay seriously as it has, in recent years, become an ugly face of capitalism. With the onset of globalisation, the increase in executive pay over recent years has vastly outstripped the rates of employee pay. A justification for this has been that due to globalisation, executive pay carries an international aspect in order to attract the most suitable people. In other words, there is a deemed international pay scale which applies to chief executives and other senior management, which is in stark contrast with the employment issues discussed above.
Their SIPO does not prohibit any investments that would include those that would be non-compliant with its Ethical Investment Policy.
Borrowing is prohibited without the specific consent of the Trustee.
No more than 5% of the assets of the Investment Trust can be invested in any one asset, with the exception of:
No more than 12.5% of the Investment Trust's funds can be invested in mortgages.