Kōura Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme Details

Since Kōura Wealth was launched in 2019 it does not have 5 years' worth of past performance data, which makes it difficult to say if it's a good choice for investors in terms of returns.

However, 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 Kōura Kiwisaver Scheme's own website, fund updates, and the product disclosure statement published on August 2023

Review of the Kōura Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme

A short summary review of the KiwiSaver provider

Updated: 8th August 2023
Reviewed by: Jayvin Ang

Kōura Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme review

The Kōura Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme is a Kiwi owned and operated KiwiSaver scheme.

They offer nine different KiwiSaver Funds, including fixed income funds, equities funds, and a specialty fund. A unique offering to the scheme is the ability to personalise your portfolio by combining multiple funds.

Kōura Wealth uses a passive investment management approach across its funds, allowing its members to invest in thousands of underlying companies and securities. The provider is committed to ESG investing and applies the New Zealand Super Fund exclusions list to its portfolios where possible.

Kōura Wealth applies an annual management fee of 0.63% to all its funds, along with a 1.1% fee specifically for the speciality fund. Additionally, there is a $30 annual fee for members over the age of 18. The provider does not charge any performance fees for any of its funds.

In closing

Kōura Wealth was launched in 2019 and does not yet have 5 years' worth of past performance data. However, its Robo-advice initiative is another feature that sets it apart from many other providers.

How do Kōura Wealth 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 Kōura Wealth

Useful news related to the Kōura Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme 

  • Offsetting the carbon impact of the kōura cryptocurrency fund (May 2023)
    Kōura aimed to avoid placing customers in a position of having to select between carbon and crypto. As a solution, they made the determination to fully compensate for all carbon emissions stemming from their Carbon Neutral Crypto Fund. This achievement was realized through the utilization of technology, extensive research, and a substantial contribution from organic sources, specifically a considerable amount of cow manure.

  • Kōura petitions to change the KiwiSaver Act (Sep 2022)
    Kōura Wealth, Aotearoa’s most personalised KiwiSaver scheme, has today launched a petition urging Parliament to change the KiwiSaver Act to create a Contribution Sharing Scheme to address gender inequality in retirement.

  • Harness the power of digital advice for a richer retirement (Sep 2020)
    The founder and managing director of kōura Wealth says many New Zealanders are missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement savings because they have not made the right KiwiSaver decisions.

  • Saving 3pc in KiwiSaver will only replace half your income in retirement, research finds (Oct 2019)
    Kōura is the third KiwiSaver scheme to launch this year and enters an already crowded market with at least 25 other providers.

Who is Kōura Wealth?

Facts & History of the KiwiSaver provider


Kōura Wealth was established in 2007. They are an all-digital advisory firm.

Why are they called Kōura? Firstly, They fully plan on being the KiwiSaver gold standard scheme.

But this isn’t just any kind of gold they are talking about here, it’s KiwiSaver gold. That’s why they looked for a uniquely New Zealand way to express this word. And what better way to demonstrate their proud Kiwi heritage than using Te Reo Māori?

So they named their company kōura. You may recognise kōura as a freshwater crayfish, but it also translates to gold and goal and has wider connotations of wealth and abundance – all cornerstones of their company.

✅ New Zealand Based Provider


Kōura was established in October 2019. They manage six KiwiSaver Funds and have 1,970 KiwiSaver Members and over $65 million in Funds Under Management (31 March 2023).

Who are the people looking after my money?

The investment team, structure and their alignment with clients

The Investment team

Rupert Carlyon - Founder, Managing Director

Rupert has worked in financial service roles his entire career – starting at global investment bank UBS, where he had a slew of roles in London and Auckland.

Returning to New Zealand in 2014, Rupert was disappointed to see the KiwiSaver market had not moved on since he left. Seven years on, New Zealanders were still being given the same stock-standard, three-fund offering and he could see that KiwiSaver was not really working for everyone.

So he began to look internationally, at companies and technologies that were doing retirement investing right. kōura is the result - a way to give kiwis access to the technology and products to help them achieve their financial goals.

Warren Couillault - Chairman

Warren is New Zealand’s KiwiSaver guru. And when you’re running a KiwiSaver company, it’s pretty great to have him on board. Warren was a crucial member of the team that created the Fisher Funds KiwiSaver scheme in 2007 and the award-winning Generate KiwiSaver scheme in 2011.

Now the CEO of Hobson Wealth Partners, one of New Zealand’s largest wealth managers and a key strategic partner of theirs, Warren is also the Chairman of kōura and sits on their Investment Committee. His role is to help steer the team, making sure they continue to deliver great financial outcomes for you.

Mark Solomon - Director

Mark is well versed when it comes to the New Zealand financial markets, having been in the industry for more than 25 years’. He has owned and managed a number of financial advisory firms and New Zealand’s leading online insurance platform Life Direct.

When he's not sitting on kōura's board, Mark is Managing Director of both Life Direct and Insurance Market Capital & Coast, an insurance advisory firm based in Wellington..

Nigel Scott - Director

Nigel has over 30 years’ experience in the NZ and UK financial markets with significant depth in the key areas of wealth management, equity and debt capital markets, structured finance, risk, and investment management. His last executive position was as the Head of Advice and Distribution at Hobson Wealth, and he also previously held the role of GM Wealth Distribution at ANZ Bank.

Nigel's broad and in-depth industry knowledge, paired with his experience sitting on several other boards means that they consider themselves lucky to have him as one of kōura's Directors.

Angela Frazerhurst - Director

Angela is a marketing professional who has worked with some of New Zealand’s most successful brands over the past 20 years. Previously Head of Marketing and General Manager for Lewis Road Creamery, Angela is currently Managing Director and owner of a leading New Zealand social media agency, Content & Co.

They're fortunate to have Angela as a director at kōura, sharing her strategic marketing and brand knowledge, as well as her deep understanding of consumers and how best to talk to them.

How is the Investment Team Structured?

The Manager of the Scheme is Kōura Wealth Limited, a company incorporated in New Zealand under the Companies Act 1993 on 20 February 2019. Kōura manages the investments of, and administers, the Scheme. Kōura is 100% New Zealand owned; they are very proud of their Kiwi heritage. 

Details of the directors of Kōura are set above.

Kōura is licenced to act as managed investment scheme manager by the Financial Markets Authority (the FMA) under the FMC Act. Kōura also holds a digital-advice exemption allowing it to offer its clients personalised digital advice.

The Manager’s functions

As the Manager of the Scheme they:

  •  Offer and issue Units in the Funds
  •  Manage the Funds in the Scheme and their investments; and
  •  Are responsible for administering the Scheme

The Schemes Objective 

The Kōura KiwiSaver Scheme has been designed and set up to help people achieve better outcomes for their KiwiSaver. Fundamentally, they believe that KiwiSaver is a complicated product and investors need help and advice to help them achieve their objectives. They do this through a differentiated fund structure and digital advice. 

The Kōura Funds

You can choose to invest in any of the following investment funds:

  • US Equities Fund
  • Rest of World Equities Fund
  • Emerging Markets Equities Fund
  • New Zealand Equities Fund
  • Fixed Interest Fund
  • Cash Fund
  • Carbon Neutral Crytocurrency Fund
  • Clean Energy Fund
  • New Zealand Property Fund

Investment & Strategy Objective

The objective of the Scheme is to provide investors the ability to create an appropriate portfolio by investing in a range of funds. The investment objectives and strategies for each of Kōura’s 6 funds are set out in Schedules 1- 6 of their SIPO together with the market indices used to measure the performance of the assets each fund invests in.

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.

Kōura Supervisor & Custodian

Kōura appoints Public Trust as their independent supervisor and custodian.

Public Trust of New Zealand was a government-appointed corporation sole providing trustee services to those unwilling to use private services or required by the courts or legislation to use the Public Trustee. From 2001 Public Trust ceased to be a corporation, adopting a structure similar to a company as a Crown entity, and was renamed Public Trust. It administers 50,000 estates, trusts, funds and agencies. They supervise seven KiwiSaver Providers with approximately $13.5 billion assets under management.

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.

Investment Policies

  • Currency Hedging: Hedging involves removing some or all of the foreign currency risk implicit in owning international assets. Where a fund has foreign currency exposure, the hedging policy for that fund is set out in Schedules 1 – 6 of this SIPO.
  • Permitted investments: Kōura’s investment universe in respect of each fund will be limited to the permitted investments as set out in the Schedules. Kōura is not an active fund manager. Any investments Kōura makes will be made on a passive basis. Kōura will not invest in any non-listed financial instruments aside from unlisted investment funds. Kōura may invest in other investments (that are not explicitly listed as “permitted investments”) that Kōura considers appropriately reflect the risk profile of the fund and will contribute to the performance objectives of the relevant fund. 
  • Rebalancing: Investors are expected to hold a portfolio of funds rather than invest in a single fund. Portfolios will be rebalanced semi-annually to ensure that the proportion of every fund in the portfolio remains at rebalancing as at the time the customer chose the portfolio
  • Derivatives: Except for currency hedging, Kōura does not use derivatives, however a fund may invest in a managed investment scheme that does use derivatives.


How do they decide where to invest?

The investment processes followed by the manager

Investment Philosophy

The Scheme operates to a number of core principles:

Passive investment:

They believe that markets are efficient, and therefore a passive approach to investing will deliver better long term results for investors in the long term. This means that they invest in index funds or indexed portfolios with a long-term asset allocation strategy attempting to replicate market performance, rather than actively choosing investments to exploit short term fluctuations in financial markets. 

Long term views: 

They believe that investors' interests are best served by taking long term views and therefore they should not be making regular changes to the investment strategy or the composition of the Kōura funds. Investors will do better by remaining invested through the cycle rather than trying to time the market. 

Use of underlying investment managers:

For their international exposures (US Equities, Rest of World Equities and Emerging Markets Equities), they will invest exclusively in funds managed by one of the large global passive fund managers. 

For their domestic exposures (NZ Equities, Fixed Interest and Cash), Kōura may elect to either invest directly in a portfolio of securities or alternatively may invest in an existing investment fund. The Investment Committee will review the available options on an ongoing basis. 

Responsible Investing:

As investors they have a unique ability to influence behaviour by choosing where to invest or, more importantly, where not to invest. They therefore believe it is important to invest according to globally recognised Environmental, Social and Governance principles.

Currency hedging: 

Currency risk adds volatility to investor returns. They, therefore, believe it is important to hedge their international exposures to reduce the volatility of their investors' portfolios. Their hedging policies are described in the Schedules relating to each of their Funds within the SIPO


Each fund is monitored daily to ensure that investments have been made in compliance with the SIPO.

On a monthly basis, the Kōura Managing Director prepares investment performance reports for the Investment Committee to review the performance of the fund.

On a quarterly basis, the Investment Committee will conduct a formal review of the funds to ensure that they are performing in line with expectation. That review will consider (amongst other things):

  • The performance of the fund versus the underlying benchmark on a monthly basis.
  • The liquidity profile of the fund. 
  • The reputation of the underlying fund manager (if the fund invests in an underlying investment fund).
  • Fees
  • Any other relevant information.

Investment Strategy Review

The Investment Committee meets quarterly. At each meeting, it will review the Scheme’s investment funds and a sample of Kōura Portfolios. In conducting its review, it will consider whether the funds and portfolios are meeting the desired risk and return objectives or whether changes are required to the investment approach, asset allocation or asset exposure being targeted. 

The Investment Committee will report to the Board of Directors of the Manager with the results of that review.

Managing Conflict of Interest

At all times, Kōura ensures that it acts in the best interests of its customers and treats all customers equitably.

Kōura has a Conflicts of Interest Policy in place relating to any potential conflicts that may arise between Kōura and investors' individual interests. Any conflicts must be managed by the Kōura Board and the Supervisor must be notified. Where a conflict exists, it will be resolved in favour of the investor.

Kōura is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kōura Wealth Holdings Limited. Hobson Wealth Holdings Limited and HWPL Custodian Limited (controlled by a director of Hobson Wealth Partners) are both shareholders of Kōura Wealth Holdings Limited.

Furthermore, two of the directors of Hobson Wealth Partners are also on the board of Kōura. Hobson Wealth Partners are paid brokerage fees in respect of investment decisions for Kōura’s funds. This conflict is managed by ensuring that brokerage fees paid to Hobson Wealth Partners are on arms' length terms.

Does Kōura Wealth 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.

Kōura’s Responsible Investment Policy

Koura is committed to responsible investing and applies the UN Principles of Responsible Investing. Koura will invest in a way that recognises its fiduciary duty to provide the highest returns to its savers but also takes into account the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues as they affect the companies whose shares and bonds they purchase.

As investors, we have a unique ability to influence behaviour by choosing where and how we allocate our capital. Equally importantly, international research shows that returns are at least no worse off and potentially better off after incorporating ESG principles into investment decisions. Kōura and its investors need to acknowledge that it is a passive investor, and relies on external funds and fund managers. As a result, it may not always be able to adhere to all of its ESG principles. Kōura relies on external providers for funds and for ESG analysis, this creates limitations.

The Kōura Investment Committee will review their adherence to their ESG principles at least annually with a view to consistently improving their adherence.


Ethical Exclusions

Where possible, they will apply this exclusions list to their own investments - They will not directly invest in companies who are directly involved in the activities set out in this list. They will also select underlying funds that apply a similar exclusions policy.

As of 1 September 2021, the exclusion list included:

  • the manufacture of cluster munitions
  • the manufacture or testing of nuclear explosive devices (NEDs)
  • the manufacture of anti-personnel mines
  • the manufacture of tobacco
  • the processing of whale meat
  • recreational cannabis, and
  • the manufacture of civilian automatic and semi-automatic firearms, magazines, or parts