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 SuperLife Kiwisaver Scheme's own website, fund updates, and the product disclosure statement published in July 2020.
Facts & History of the KiwiSaver provider
The SuperLife KiwiSaver scheme (Scheme) is a KiwiSaver scheme under the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013. The Scheme is managed by Smartshares Limited (Smartshares), which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NZX Limited (NZX).
SuperLife provides KiwiSaver, investment, superannuation and insurance solutions to over 50,000 members. For over 15 years they have focused on what matters most to our members:
A passive investment philosophy
SuperLife believes that a passive approach to investing will deliver better long-term results. They do not think that constantly changing their investments (that is, trading regularly and seeking short-term gains) consistently adds value to investors.
They believe that no one knows what will happen in the economy and the investment markets over a particular future period. While history may give us some insights, history also tells us that each period can be different.
SuperLife’s fees are among the lowest in the market. They don’t charge performance based fees or commissions.
Fees matter. The impact of even small fee differences each year can be significant over time.
It is their view that investment management is an exception to the rule "you get what you pay for" - they do not believe high-fee fund managers will deliver superior performance over time.
Each of SuperLife’s four schemes (KiwiSaver, investments, workplace savings and UK pension transfer) offers access to the same broad range of investment options.
Investors can set and change their investment strategies at any time, free of charge.
This means being honest about what they can and can’t do for you.
SuperLife will always quote investment returns after (net of) total fund charges and taxes. This is because they believe this information is more useful for you.
Exceptional customer service
They are focused on providing you with information to help you make informed decisions. This does not include personalised financial advice.
✅ New Zealand Based Provider
Follow the link below to SuperLife’s About Us page for more:
The SuperLife Kiwisaver scheme has a total Assets Under Management (AUM) of over $890 million and 4,685 kiwisaver members (As at August 2019).
The investment team, structure and their alignment with clients
Lindsay Wright - Chair
Lindsay is Chair of Smartshares. She is also a director of NZX Limited and was most recently Head of Distribution and Co-Head of APAC at BNY Mellon Investment Management, the global investment arm of BNY Mellon. She has held executive roles with Invesco Hong Kong, Harvest Alternatives Investment Group and Harvest Capital Management.
Mark Peterson - Director
Mark is a director of the Smartshares board, and CEO of NZX. Mark has previously worked in a number of senior finance roles including Managing Director ANZ Securities. He has held executive roles with FNZC and The National Bank of NZ, and ANZ Institutional Bank. He is a former Chairman of the NZ Securities Industry Association.
Guy Elliffe - Independent Director
Guy is an Independent Director of Smartshares. He is currently Corporate Governance Manager at the Accident Compensation Corporation. Previously he was Head of Equities at AMP Capital Investors (New Zealand) Limited, and he has held a range of senior investment roles in New Zealand and the US.
John Williams - Independent Director
John is an Independent Director of Smartshares. He is currently the Investment Manager at Trust Investments Management Limited. Previously he was a Key Client Manager at Vanguard Investments, and has held a range of investment strategy and consulting roles in the New Zealand institutional market.
Chief Investment Officer
The Chief Investment Officer is responsible for:
The Chief Investment Officer reports to Smartshares’ Chief Executive Officer.
Investment Management Committee
The Investment Management Committee (a management committee) provides the Chief Investment Officer recommendations in respect of investment strategy and policy.
Head of Risk and Compliance
The Head of Risk and Compliance is responsible for:
The Investment Oversight Committee reviews the Scheme’s investment strategy annually.
The Investment Oversight Committee undertakes an ad hoc review of the Scheme’s investment
The Investment Oversight Committee considers management’s recommendations in respect of
changes to the Scheme’s investment strategy.
The Investment Oversight Committee reports to the Board as to the outcome of its review,
together with any proposed changes to the Scheme’s investment strategy.
The Board considers the Investment Oversight Committee's report and may approve the changes to the Scheme’s investment strategy.
Below is a link to the Statement of Investment Policy and Objectives, where you can find out more:
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.
SuperLife’s supervisor is Public Trust. Corporate Trustee Services are part of Public Trust and are a leading specialist corporate trustee company in New Zealand, with more than NZ$90 billion under trusteeship and supervision. They are New Zealand's sole Crown-owned trustee company.
Below you will find a link to The Public Trust:
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.
The custodian is appointed by the supervisor and is independent of Smartshares. The custodian is BNP Paribas Fund Services Australasia Pty Ltd.
The investment processes followed by the manager
Smartshares’ investment philosophy is based on the following key beliefs:
Smartshares aims to provide a comprehensive suite of listed and unlisted funds that can be
used by individuals, companies, financial advisers and institutions. Most of these funds are
designed to track market indices. These range from traditional market capitalisation weighted
indices to customised indices that target or exclude a particular sector, industry or specific
Smartshares recognises that in some markets the predominant index may not provide a
diversified or efficient exposure. In these circumstances, it will use a systematic approach to
actively manage a portfolio or select an external manager to perform this function.
A derivative is a financial product with a value that is reliant upon or derived from an underlying asset or group of assets. Each fund that uses derivatives has a derivatives policy. These are set out in the schedules to the SIPO.
Hedging involves removing some or all of the foreign currency risk implicit in owning international assets. This limits the impact of foreign exchange rate movements on investment performance.
The Board is responsible for managing and overseeing the business and affairs of Smartshares, including approving the investment strategies and the SIPOs for the managed investment schemes managed by Smartshares. The Board must ensure that the standards, systems, processes and controls necessary to provide good outcomes for investors are in place.
The directors on the Board are appointed by NZX.
The Investment Oversight Committee (a Board committee) oversees Smartshares’ investment
management function, including:
Monitoring the investment performance and risk exposure of the managed investment schemes managed by Smartshares;
The members of the Investment Oversight Committee are Smartshares directors and senior managers and are appointed by the Board. The Investment Oversight Committee reports to the Board.
Below is a link to the Statement of Investment Policy and Objectives, where you can find out more:
SuperLife monitors the investment performance of each of the funds in the Scheme. Every month, SuperLife prepares investment performance reports and provides them to Smartshares’ Chief Investment Officer.
Every quarter, SuperLife prepares the investment performance and compliance reports, and provides them to the Investment Oversight Committee. Each quarter, the Investment Oversight Committee reports to the Board. The investment monitoring reports are also provided to the Board.
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.
Relating to the Ethical Fund, the following information is applicable:
The fund may not invest in investments where (in Smartshares’ opinion) the activities of the entities behind the investment:
Current investments and sectors that are excluded are those where a material part of their revenue and/or activities are in the areas of gambling, tobacco, alcohol, armaments, pornography and fossil fuel extraction.
For more information on SuperLife’s responsible investment philosophy, follow the link below:
|Responsible Investment Policy|
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:
Our research team at National Capital looks at over 100+ funds and can recommend the right KiwiSaver investment for you.
Our KiwiSaver recommendations look at the big picture and not just the scorecard. So, what are you waiting for?
SuperLife KiwiSaver Plan has the following KiwiSaver Funds. More details on each of these funds can be found in the links below.