Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme

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 Westpac Kiwisaver Scheme's own website, fund updates, and the product disclosure statement published as of July 2023.

Review of the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme

A short summary review of the KiwiSaver provider

Updated: 24th Jul 2023
Reviewed by: Ronak Karmokar

Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme review

The Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme is one of the largest KiwiSaver schemes in New Zealand.

Westpac provides a range of funds to help members meet their investment objectives in a way that aligns with their risk profile and investment goals.

Seven different actively managed KiwiSaver funds are offered, ranging from a lower-risk cash fund to a higher-risk growth fund. Their active investment philosophy aims to deliver sustainable funds with repeatable long-term returns.

Funds in the scheme are managed by BTNZ, the investment arm of Westpac NZ. Asset allocation of the funds are designed to take advantage of investment opportunities and manage risks in the short to medium term.

Westpac charges annual fund fees that range between 0.25% and 0.55%, which is very competitive for actively managed funds. 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 Westpac managed funds in the last 5 to 10 years have been close to the average KiwiSaver returns.

Changes within the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme

In Nov 2021, BTNZ took steps to align the Westpac funds with its climate objective of supporting efforts to limit global temperature rises. This involved allocating assets to a global shares investment index, following strict climate regulations and in line with a 1.5 degree C pathway.

In Sep 2021, Westpac reduced the fees for all of its funds. Westpac's Cash Fund was reduced from 0.29% to 0.25%, its Balanced Fund from 0.73% to 0.5% and its Growth Fund from 0.8% to 0.55%. In addition to lowering its fees, Westpac also removed its yearly $12 administration fee from all its managed KiwiSaver schemes. 

In closing

Based on past performance alone, Westpac has performed close to the average KiwiSaver fund after fees and taxes.

How does Westpac 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 Westpac

Useful news related to the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme 

Who is Westpac?

Facts & History of the KiwiSaver provider


Westpac is Australia’s oldest bank and company, one of four major banking organisations in Australia, and one of the largest banks in New Zealand.

They provide a broad range of banking and financial services in these markets, including consumer, business, and institutional banking and wealth management services.

The Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme is one of New Zealand's largest providers and has been a default provider since 2014. The Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme offers a focused investment menu of multi-manager diversified funds. These funds are managed by BTNZ, the investment arm of Westpac NZ.

The BTNZ investment team is committed to seeking ways of improving the outcomes for its customers. BTNZ takes a long-term approach to implementing its investment strategies, recognising that the short term is unpredictable. The investment team is prepared to back their convictions, and have a culture that is driven, focussed, and accountable, with a high standard of excellence, integrity, and ethics.


The Westpac KiwiSaver scheme has seven investment options, consisting of a cash fund and six diversified funds—Westpac's total Assets Under Management (AUM) is over $9.6 billion, with over 424k members.


Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme received the Platinum rating from SuperRatings in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Who are the people looking after my money?

The investment team, structure and their alignment with clients

The Investment Team

Philip Houghton-Brown - Head of Investment Solutions

Philip Houghton-Brown has been the Head of Investment Solutions for two years. Philip has worked at Mercer (NZ) for 8 years, serving as Chief Investment Officer for more than 3 years and Head of Investments for over 4 years. Prior to his current position, he held high-level roles at OnePath NZ/ING NZ and AMP Asset Management. Current BT Funds Chief Executive, Nigel Jackson, said Houghton-Brown would bring a wealth of expertise to the role.

Nigel Jackson - Chief Executive - BT Funds Management

Nigel is the current Chief Executive at BT Funds Management, who assumed the position in 2022. Nigel boasts over 11 years of experience with Westpac before his current role and held the position of Head of Investments in his most recent post. Nigel previously held various roles in the finance industry. He was the Head of Product & Marketing at OnePath New Zealand for three years, the National Product Manager at ING (NZ) Limited for six years, and the Manager of Investment and Client Services at ANZ Funds Management for two years before joining Westpac. Nigel has more than 32 years of experience in the banking industry, he has worked in various areas such as business and product development, investment and marketing management, client services, and relations.

François Richeboeuf - Senior Manager

François has worked as the Senior Manager of Investment Solutions for more than 2 years. Before that, he spent over 10 years as the Senior Portfolio Manager for Diversified Funds. He briefly served as Acting Head of Investment Solutions in 2020. François is supported by a well-resourced team that covers external manager research, internal investment capabilities for New Zealand bonds and asset allocation.

Angelika Sansom - Investment Analytics Manager

Angelika has been working as the lead investment analyst at Westpac for over 21 years. Her primary responsibility is to provide support for the long-term strategic asset allocation and portfolio analytics processes.

Stephen Hong - Senior Portfolio Manager

Stephen has been working as a Senior Portfolio Manager for over 10 years, with extensive experience in portfolio management. Before his current position, he worked as a portfolio manager for 5 years at AXA Global Investors and another 6 years at BNZ.

How is the Investment Team Structured?

The investment team is responsible for idea generation, management, and monitoring funds within the full product suite. All funds are subject to oversight by a series of research teams operating within the investment team, some asset class-specific, for example, the Fixed Interest Group (FIG). The Investment Strategy Group (ISG) and Manager Monitoring Group (MMG) are more universal and are attended by the full BTNZ investment team. All outcomes are dealt with by the BT Investment Committee (BTIC), which is ultimately accountable to the BT Funds Management (NZ) Limited (BTNZ) Board, which is an all executive Board.

BTNZ engage the services of a third-party investment adviser who provides regular reviews of the investment team processes and additional external manager data for offshore manager selection. The investment adviser is a non-voting relationship, and the investment team is not obligated to implement any recommendations from the investment adviser. The use of groups, committees, and an external adviser assists in mitigating key person risk.


The primary objective of the fund is to outperform the composite benchmark index over the time horizon for the relevant fund. BTNZ’s investment philosophy is based on the broad principles of diversification and active management, backed by a research-driven approach focused on identifying and managing risk and sourcing value-added opportunities.

Investment personnel all invest in BTNZ's investment offerings through KiwiSaver and the Westpac Staff Superannuation Scheme (for which BTNZ is the investment implementation manager). The same fee applies.

Westpac’s Code of Conduct

This Code describes the standards of conduct expected of their people, both employees, and contractors. It provides a set of guiding principles to help them make the right decision every time.

The principles that operate in the Code are:

1. They act with honesty, integrity, and due skill, care, and diligence.

2. They comply with laws and our policies.

3. They do the right thing by our customers.

4. They respect confidentiality and do not misuse information.

5. They value and maintain our professionalism.

6. They work as a team.

7. They manage conflicts of interest responsibly.

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.

Westpac's Supervisor & Custodian

The Supervisor and Custodian of the Scheme are The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited.  They are licensed by the Financial Markets Authority under the Financial Markets Supervisors Act 2011 to act as a supervisor of issues to the public in respect of Debt securities KiwiSaver schemes, non-fund schemes, specified managed funds, and superannuation schemes.

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 the 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.

The Guardian Trust is the corporate trustee for many of New Zealand's leading corporations, financial institutions, fund managers, and banks. Their clients span a broad range of business activities and the quality of their client portfolio reflects their status as a provider of corporate trustee services in New Zealand. As of June 2018, they manage funds in excess of NZ$ 120 billion.

Westpac's Governance Process 

Their approach to corporate governance is based on a set of values and behaviors that underpin day-to-day activities, provide transparency and fair dealing, and seek to protect stakeholder interests.

This approach includes a commitment to excellence in governance standards, which Westpac sees as fundamental to the sustainability of their business and their performance. It includes monitoring local and global developments in corporate governance and assessing their implications.

In addition, from time to time, the Board participates (either directly or through representatives) in due diligence committees in relation to strategic decisions, capital, and funding activities. The Executive Team, Disclosure Committee, and Executive Risk Committees are not Board Committees (that is, they have no delegation of authority from the Board) but sit beneath the CEO and the Board Committees to implement Board-approved strategies, policies, and management of risk across the Group.

The key functions of the Board and each of the Board Committees are outlined in the Corporate Governance Statement.


How do they decide where to invest?

The investment processes followed by the manager

Investment Philosophy

BTNZ believes markets are somewhat inefficient and portfolios can be positioned in a manner to take advantage of opportunities that occur, which is a philosophy that generally applies to active investment selection.

The intent of the process is to deliver sustainable funds with repeatable long-term returns. While day to day security selection decision making is delegated to third party specialist investment managers (excluding that of NZ Bonds and NZ Cash), the primary focus of the investment team is on top down asset allocation (both strategic and tactical), third party manager selection and blending, and portfolio construction.

Westpac's Monitoring Process 

The investment team formally meets weekly to discuss investment strategy, performance, and risk. Asset allocation decisions are discussed and decided at this meeting. BTNZ implements a tactical asset allocation process that aims to take advantage of investment opportunities and manage risks in the short to medium-term, typically 1 to 3-year views. Investment opportunities may occur within a particular asset class where an asset class sub-sector is preferred over another.

Asset class views are derived from an assessment of economic and financial conditions, sentiment, valuation, and supply/ demand imbalances. The investment team also meets monthly for the purpose of drilling down into underlying sub-manager performance. Recommended changes to managers, downgrades to views, or any other change to sector positioning will be discussed at this meeting.

Investment Process

The investment process is centred around the utilisation of insightful, high-conviction strategies and the maintenance of high levels of underlying transparency, liquidity, and risk management.

There are five key pillars of the investment process:

A disciplined and active approach
Their investment process focuses on insightful and high-quality research. They believe that a disciplined and active approach to investing, together with broad diversification across asset classes, securities, and investing styles will help their customers achieve long-term wealth creation.

Specially selected Investment Managers
They believe in a multi-manager approach. They outsource much of the selection of investments to specialist investment managers, both locally and globally, that they consider being the strongest in each particular asset class.

Stronger risk-adjusted investment returns
Using this multi-manager approach, they aim to deliver stronger risk-adjusted returns for their customers by including a wide variety of investment processes and strategies into their portfolios and managed funds.

Active not passive management
They believe that markets are somewhat inefficient and portfolios can be structured to take advantage of dislocations and opportunities. They apply this belief using an active approach to security selection and asset allocation. They believe that the best active managers will beat the market in the long run.

A team of dedicated investment professionals
They have a team of dedicated investment professionals, whose responsibilities are spread across Asset Allocation (Strategic and Tactical), Manager Selection & Blending, and Portfolio Implementation.

Does Westpac 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.

Westpac's Sustainable Investment Policy

What is Sustainable Investing?

Sustainable investing refers to managing assets by integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and contributing to sustainable themes. Westpac integrates this into their investment analysis and decision-making as they believe investing sustainably will contribute towards a more sustainable economy.

But sustainable investing is about more than just keeping away from certain sectors. It’s also about looking to the future and making rigorous decisions on the basis of a range of environmental (E), social (S), and corporate governance (G) factors.

How is Sustainable Investing Implemented?

BTNZ, who is responsible for the investment of the Westpac KiwiSaver scheme, released its new Sustainable Investment Policy in December 2021, outlining its aspiration to establish itself as a leader in the sustainable investment space, to align assets under management with the Paris Agreement and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Westpac's main approach to sustainable investment has four key pillars. Westpac uses these pillars to guide their investment decisions, either directly through their domestic cash and fixed interest team or through their third-party underlying investment managers.

Each pillar aims to protect or enhance value. For Westpac, value includes financial, environmental, and social value.

The Four Pillars


Westpac does not invest in companies and other issuers that operate outside of their sustainable investment criteria. Westpac's rationale for excluding companies is based upon a series of factors, including whether the company contravenes their climate commitments, such as through the fossil fuel and coal exclusion or whether the Company is breaching minimum social safeguards and/or significant harm standards defined by RIAA. Specific exclusions are listed below.

ESG Integration:

Integration refers to the way environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) are embedded into investment decisions. For example, tracking how the companies that are invested in are managing climate change, or whether they are breaching international laws on human rights.

Westpac integrates important ESG factors into its investment decisions and expects its underlying investment managers to do the same. By doing so, Westpac aims to create long-term value and/or avoid undue risks. 


Stewardship is about using their influence over current or potential underlying investment managers, companies and other issuers, policy makers, service providers and other stakeholders – often collaboratively – to create and protect long-term value.

BTNZ recognises the importance of active stewardship. BTNZ engages in active stewardship to encourage sustainable business practices, address climate change, improve corporate governance and transparency.

Westpac implements active stewardship by exercising voting rights, engaging with companies and other issuers either directly through their internal team or via the underlying investment managers, and collaborating with the industry.

Sustainable Themes: 

Westpac's highest priority currently is to invest more in the climate action theme. They are also growing their investment in other themes such as biodiversity and ecosystems, water stewardship, and pollution prevention and control. These sustainable themes will help support positive outcomes and their aspiration to be a sustainable investment leader.

Ethical Exclusions

As per the Westpac Sustainable Investment Policy document, they will not invest in companies that are directly involved in the following activities:

  • Companies breaching international conventions
  • Companies not meeting minimum social safeguards
  • Controversial and other weapons
  • Tobacco products
  • Oil and gas fossil fuels
  • Thermal coal extraction and substantial power generation from coal
  • Whale mean processing
  • Predatory lending