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Medical Assurance Society 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 MAS Kiwisaver Scheme's own website, fund updates, and the product disclosure statement published in September 2020.

Who is MAS KiwiSaver?

Facts & History of the KiwiSaver provider

History

As a mutual society, MAS customers become Members. MAS is owned by their Members so they don't have to generate big profits for external shareholders. And because their advisers are paid a salary with no commissions, you can be sure they have your best interests at heart.

MAS was founded by doctors for doctors in 1921, and now more than 80% of the medical profession insured with MAS.

✅   New Zealand Based Provider

For more information, please see the About Us page below:

 

About Us

 

Size

The Medical Assurance Society KiwiSaver Scheme  has a total KiwiSaver Assets Under Management (AUM) of over $NZ 769 million and 15,117 KiwiSaver clients.

 

Who are the people looking after my money?

The investment team, structure and their alignment with clients

The Investment Team

Brett Sutton - Deputy Chairperson

Brett is an experienced independent director. He is currently Chair of the Stevenson Group and Mint Asset Management, and Deputy Chair of the Co-Operative Bank. His previous employment experience included senior investment roles at the NZ Superannuation Fund and the Todd Corporation.

Harley Aish - Chairperson

Harley is a General Practitioner in Otara, South Auckland. He has been involved in several projects with the local District Health Board to research and improve health for the local community, integrating care, and trying new models of care. He is currently Chairman of ProCare Health Limited.

Danielle Dinsdale - Board Member

Danelle is a commercial lawyer who has spent the last 12 years overseas advising boards and senior executives on change management, mostly in the insurance and banking sectors. Since returning to New Zealand, she has been working on a portfolio of commercial property and agricultural interests. She is a Director for both Crown Fibre Holdings Limited and Hawkes Bay Regional Investment Company Ltd. Danelle is on the sub-committee for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Dam and prior to becoming a director of MAS, Danelle served as an independent director for Medical Securities Limited (MSL) from 30 November 2010 to August 2013.

Kate Baddock - Board Member

Dr Kate Baddock is Chair of the New Zealand Medical Association, a Fellow of the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners, and a member of both the Institute of Directors and Auckland Medicolegal Society. She gained her medical degree at the University of Otago and currently works as a GP and partner at Kawau Bay Health in Warkworth. She teaches undergraduate medical students, postgraduate doctors, and registrars in General Practice training programmes.

How is the Investment Team Structured?

MAS works with investment managers to manage the assets of each Fund. The investment managers they currently work with are: 

  • Bancorp Treasury Services Limited 
  • JBWere (NZ) Pty Limited 
  • BNZ (External Manager)
  • BlackRock (External Manager) 
  • Hunter Investment Management Limited (External Manager) 

The role of individual investment managers is reviewed annually. Factors taken into account in these reviews include investment style, resources, organisational strength and investment performance relative to objectives. 

MAS may remove an investment manager and appoint a new investment manager at any time.

Conflicts of Interest Policy

In order to avoid, mitigate and manage potential conflicts, MAS has adopted a Conflicts of Interest Policy. The key principle is that any potential conflicts of interest are avoided where possible. If that is not possible, then they are clearly disclosed by any person making decisions on behalf of the Plan and mitigated to the greatest extent possible.

Trade Allocation & Execution Policy

Trades for the Funds, other than foreign currency hedging, are executed by JBWere NZ (Pty) Ltd. Their Trade Allocation and Execution Policy ensures that all clients are treated fairly and equitably when trades are  allocated across Funds with respect to priority of execution of orders and in the allocation of trades. 

Foreign exchange hedging is undertaken by BNZ and the method of trade execution is set out in an agreement for foreign currency hedging services.

Proxy Voting

For Australasian equities MAS has employed Institutional Investor Services to vote on their behalf. For the responsible investing mandate component of international equities, the sub-contracted manager (BlackRock) votes according to their policies.

For more information on MAS’ policies, follow the link below to download the Statement of Investment Policy and Objectives:

 

Download: SIPO

 

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.

MAS' 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. 

MAS’ custodian is JBWere (NZ) Nominees Limited. 

For more information on the custodian, follow the link below:

 

JBWere

 

MAS' Supervisor

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.

MAS’ supervisor is Medical Funds Management Limited.

Investment Monitoring

Each month MAS receives performance reporting from the investment managers. They monitor the performance of each Fund against its market index for the month, quarter and year. They also monitor the performance of each asset class against the relevant benchmark index over the same time frames. 

Each quarter they monitor the performance of each Fund against other similar KiwiSaver funds over the previous three months and the previous year. MAS also monitors the performance of each asset class against that of other appropriate investment managers over the quarter and year. 

Each year they monitor the performance of the Funds against: 

  • Fund objectives. 
  • The relevant market index over one, three and five years. This includes consideration of the volatility of Fund returns versus the market index. 
  • Other similar KiwiSaver funds over one, three and five years. 

Each year we also monitor the performance of each asset class against: 

  • The relevant market index over one, three and five year periods. This includes consideration of the volatility of Fund returns versus the market index. • Other appropriate investment managers over one, three and five years.

For more information on monitoring, follow the link below:

 

Download: SIPO

 

 

How do they decide where to invest?

The investment processes followed by the manager

Investment Beliefs 

MAS’s investment philosophy is based on six key beliefs. They believe: 

  • Asset allocation is the key driver of returns. Markets rise over time but also mean revert, meaning the ability to take strategic tilts, within parameters, delivers the best opportunity for returns. 
  • Risk is rewarded with higher long-term returns although it can lead to higher volatility of returns over the short term. 
  • Diversification across and within asset classes reduces risk and volatility, however too much diversification may be costly. 
  • A return premium exists for illiquid assets. The acceptance of a long-term timeframe means investment in illiquid assets is fine, so long as there are sufficient liquid assets to provide regular cash flow, plus reserves for emergencies and other opportunities. 
  • Fees and costs are a drag on performance and should be kept to a minimum. 
  • While markets are competitive, active management and conviction-based tilts can add value. Tactical currency management can also add value.

Investment Strategy 

Each Fund has different levels of risk and provides different potential returns. The choice of authorised investments for each Fund takes into account the Fund’s risk profile, objectives and investment strategy. 

The investment strategy of a Fund takes into account: 

  • Investment objectives; 
  • Benchmark asset allocation; 
  • Benchmark asset allocation ranges (or limits); and 
  • The index that the Fund’s performance will be measured against.

Follow the link below to the SIPO document for more:

 

Download: SIPO

Does MAS 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

The Plan’s investments are made according to the following guidelines: 

  • The Funds will not invest in companies whose principal business activity is the manufacture and sale of armaments or tobacco, or the exploration, extraction, refining or processing of fossil fuels. In addition, the Funds will not invest in any utility that primarily burns fossil fuels. 
  • Environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices of a company will be evaluated when considering investing in securities of that company. 
  • MAS appoints agents who will regularly engage with companies regarding their ESG practices and carefully consider all voting matters.

Ethical Exclusions

MAS has committed to excluding companies whose principal business activities are:

  • The manufacture and sale of armaments;
  • The manufacture and sale of tobacco; or
  • The exploration, extraction, refining or processing of fossil fuels or who are utilities that burn them.

For more on MAS’ principles, follow the link below:

 

Responsible Investments

 

 

How does MAS compare to others?

Best Performing KiwiSaver Funds

FUND TYPE
FUND NAME
5YR AVERAGE
Conservative
Milford
Conservative
6.3%
Moderate
Aon Russell
Lifepoints
7.3%
Balanced
Milford
Balanced
9.1%
Growth
Milford Active
Growth
10.7%
Aggressive
Booster
GearedGrowth
12.4%

*Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.

*All returns are after fees and before tax, updated 30th September 2020.

*Source: MorningStar Fund Report September 2020

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Look at more than just fees and past performance

We have looked at the best performing KiwiSaver funds based on their 5-year returns, however, looking at past performance of a fund is just one aspect when choosing a KiwiSaver fund. Other questions you should be asking include:

  • How and where is my money invested? 

  • What is the level of volatility (risk) of this fund? Does it align with my volatility tolerance and capacity?

  • How do the fees compare to other funds with a similar rate of return?

  • What are the providers processes when selecting investments and making changes in the funds?

Our research team at National Capital looks at over 100+ funds and can recommend the right KiwiSaver investment for you. 

Why get advice from National Capital?

  • Detailed Research: We research various factors of KiwiSaver funds – from asset allocation all the way to ethical investing.

  • Answers: How do I know my money is safe? What risks are being taken?

  • Monitoring: We’re constantly monitoring the KiwiSaver landscape.

  • Expertise: Our team specialise in Investment and KiwiSaver research.

  • No cost to you: We get paid by the KiwiSaver providers

  • Gift of Time: We do the hard work, so you can focus on life.

Our KiwiSaver recommendations look at the big picture and not just the scorecard. So, what are you waiting for?

List of MAS KiwiSaver Funds

More details on MAS Funds can be found in their PDS.