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

Review of the Pathfinder KiwiSaver Scheme

A short summary review of the KiwiSaver provider

Updated: 17th July 2023
Reviewed by: Raymond Hu

Pathfinder KiwiSaver Scheme review

The Pathfinder KiwiSaver Scheme, formerly known as Caresaver Kiwisaver, is a boutique fund manager focused on Responsible Investment (RI) in global assets.

They offer three actively managed KiwiSaver funds: a lower risk Conservative Fund, a medium risk Balanced Fund and a higher risk Growth Fund. Pathfinder believes in investing ethically and only invests in high ESG companies, as they are of the opinion that these types of companies are better for the planet and its people. 

Its investing approach consists of actively seeking out high ESG companies and excluding companies engaged in industries or activities they believe to be harmful. The funds invest in ethically-approved cash, bonds and listed and unlisted companies. Pathfinder's exclusions consist of both regulation-based exclusions and societal and environmental harm. The provider is also carbon negative.

Pathfinder charges annual management fees in the range of 0.94%-1.30% in addition to a membership fee of $27 per annum. Pathfinder donates 20% of its management fees to a charity of its KiwiSaver members' choice.

As the funds were only launched in July 2019, there is no 5-year data for past performance.

Changes within the Pathfinder KiwiSaver Scheme

In Mar 2021, CareSaver KiwiSaver changed its name to Pathfinder KiwiSaver.

In Jun 2021, Pathfinder won the awards for Best Ethical KiwiSaver Fund Provider and Best New Ethical Fund (for its Growth Fund) at the Mindful Money Award event.

In closing

The Pathfinder funds are relatively new, so they cannot be reviewed based on fees alone. It is, however, one of the most charitable and ethical KiwiSaver funds available.

How does Pathfinder compare to others?

Best Performing KiwiSaver Funds

Aon Russell Lifepoints
Milford Balanced
Milford Active Growth
Booster GearedGrowth

*Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.

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

*Source: MorningStar Fund Report June 2020

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Latest News on Pathfinder

Useful news related to the Pathfinder KiwiSaver Scheme 

Who is Pathfinder?

Facts & History of the KiwiSaver provider


In 2009, John Berry and Paul Brownsey co-founded Pathfinder. After years of experience making and managing money, they turned their expertise toward making and managing good money. By 2018 they had five different ethically invested managed fund options but wanted to bring this new way of investing to a wider audience. Enter Alvarium, a 100% New Zealand owned wealth management boutique based in Auckland (with strong global connections).

Inspired by a future where investing was ethical, they acquired Pathfinder to support its new product launch: the Pathfinder KiwiSaver Plan (originally called CareSaver – the name has changed but the focus on care endures). Powered by Alvarium, Pathfinder continues to balance the rational need to make money with the emotional desire to do good. Join Pathfinder on its mission of generating individual wealth and collective well-being. 

"We believe no one should have to choose between an ethical investment and a profitable one." - John Berry, Co-Founder, CEO & Resident Wayfinder

✅   New Zealand Based Provider


Pathfinder currently manages three funds under their KiwiSaver scheme, varying in levels of risk from the Conservative Fund to the Growth Fund. As of March 2020, the total Assets Under Management (AUM) for Pathfinder is just under $163 million.


A+ Governance and Strategy rating from the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investment

Best Ethical KiwiSaver Fund by Mindful Money (2021 & 2022)


Who are the people looking after my money?

The investment team, structure and their alignment with clients

The Investment team

John Berry - Co-Founder, CEO & Resident Wayfinder

John is committed to making ethical investments accessible to all NZ investors. Before co-founding Pathfinder in 2009, John worked in law firms and investment banks in Auckland, London and Sydney. He has a BCom/LLB(Hons) from Auckland University and is a board member of Men's Health Trust.

Paul Brownsey - Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer

Paul heads Pathfinder's investment team and their ethical investment processes. Before co-founding Pathfinder in 2009, Paul had extensive experience in financial markets, having worked in Wellington, London, Singapore and Auckland. Paul has a BSc (Operations Research) from Canterbury University and is a member of the Investment Committee for Arthritis NZ.

Hamesh Sharma - Portfolio Manager

Hamesh joined Pathfinder in April 2019 and primarily manages Australasian equities. Hamesh has 10 years of financial markets experience, beginning his career as an analyst in the investment strategy team at Goldman Sachs JBWere, after a summer at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Prior to Pathfinder, he co-founded an independent stock market research firm. Hamesh holds a BCom (Hons)/LLB from Auckland University.

Kate Brownsey - ESG Analyst

Kate is Pathfinder's resident environmental, social, and governance (ESG) analyst. She also gives her time to causes she is passionate about, which usually have an environmental focus. Kate has a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Science from the Auckland University of Technology.

Kent Fraser - Chair of the Investment Committee

Kent has over two decades of international experience in financial services and corporate leadership. He has held executive roles in the UK, China and South Korea and provided consultancy services in specialist treasury, debt capital markets and financial risk management for a broad range of enterprises including banks, investment banks, corporate treasuries, insurance companies and government entities. Group Treasurer and trading roles include HSBC, Heartland Bank, Fonterra and Transpower.

Kent has worked with the Investment Committee for Pathfinder since 2017 and has a Bachelor of Property Administration from the University of Auckland, and is a Certified Treasury Professional (INFINZ).

How is the Investment Team Structured?

The Pathfinder Conservative Fund is run collaboratively by Paul and Hamesh. Paul as Head of Investment has the responsibility, however, much of the work is done by both him and Hamesh. Kate (the environmental scientist) is also involved on the research side. This is overseen by their Investment Committee (which includes an independent member - Kent Fraser) which typically meets quarterly to review risk and long-term thematic views.


Pathfinder's incentives align with their goals of managing funds that contain companies that do social good. Their investment basis relies fundamentally on the UN sustainable development goals, making investment decisions that align with these and invest only in companies that operate and have policies that adhere to these guidelines.

According to MindfulMoney, they are completely aligned with these goals, with 0% of their investments being associated with companies that might violate these principles.

Below is a link for more information on their Ethical Investment incentives :



Ethical Investing 


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.

Pathfinder's Custodian & Supervisor

The Supervisor and Custodian of the Scheme are the Public Trust (PT). The PT is responsible for the supervision of the Scheme and the performance of Pathfinder’s duties as manager of the Scheme. The PT is independent of Pathfinder and is regulated by the Financial Markets Authority.

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 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.

Pathfinder's Governance Process 

Pathfinder is owned and managed by Pathfinder, another investment firm involved in ESG investment. Paul and John report to Pathfinder, which is overseen by five directors (two are independent) to maintain a high standard of corporate governance and adherence to the investment policies outlined in their SIPO.

The obligations of Pathfinder as Manager of the Funds include:

  • Investing assets in accordance with their SIPO, offer documents, and trust documents.
  • Reporting to investors and Public Trust (the Supervisor) on each Fund; and
  • Monitoring compliance with the SIPO

The Manager will maintain an Ethics and Investment committee (the Ethics and Investment Committee) to oversee the management of the Funds.

How do they decide where to invest?

The investment processes followed by the manager

Investment Philosophy & Process

Pathfinder's investment philosophy is built on two foundations: 

  • Their ethical beliefs are core to their investment process
  • Their investment process must be research-based and robust (as well as ethical).

Investment Beliefs:

Pathfinder's key investment beliefs include:

  • 'High level' decisions are critical: Active asset allocation decisions by asset class, industry sector, investment theme and geography are significant drivers of investment returns
  • Integrating ESG: Integrating environmental, social and governance analysis into decision making provides a deeper assessment of corporate risk and value-creation potential
  • Research is critical: High quality research drives better investment decisions
  • Invest for the long-term: Pathfinder believes a long-term investment approach produces better outcomes for their investor (and the planet) than a short-term approach

Manager Responsibilities

Pathfinder's obligations as Manager of the Funds include:

  • Investing assets in accordance with this SIPO, offer documents and trust documents;
  • Reporting to investors and Public Trust (the Supervisor) on each Fund; and
  • Monitoring compliance with this SIPO

The Manager will maintain an Ethics and Investment committee (the Ethics and Investment Committee) to oversee the management of the Funds.

Investment Performance Monitoring

Fund compliance with the SIPO is monitored on an ongoing basis. Fund performance is reported monthly. Each Fund is also reviewed at least annually. 


Does Pathfinder 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.

Pathfinder's Responsible Investment Policy

Pathfinder may exclude investments in companies that they view as doing substantial and irreparable harm to society or the environment provided the risk/ return implications of excluding such companies is not expected to lead to a significant financial detriment for clients and can be effectively managed.

Pathfinder's PRI Declaration

As part of their commitment to ethical investment, Pathfinder is a signatory to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment (UNPRI), which relate to their Sustainable Development Goals. The UNPRI are a set of six investment principles for incorporating environmental, social and governance issues into investment practice.

The UNPRI encourages investors to use these six principles to enhance returns and better manage risks:

  1. To incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes
  2. To be an active owner and to incorporate ESG issues into Pathfinder's ownership policies and practices
  3. To seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which Pathfinder invests
  4. To promote acceptance and implementation of the principles within the investment industry
  5. To work with the PRI Secretariat and other signatories to enhance their effectiveness in implementing the Principles of Responsible Investment
  6. To report on Pathfinder's activities and progress towards implementing the Principles of Responsible Investment

Ethical Exclusions

Pathfinder's exclusions are based on both regulations as well as assessing social and environmental harm:

Respecting people by promoting healthy communities:


  • Excludes production and/or distribution of essential components
  • Excludes production and/or distribution of civilian automatic and semi-automatic firearms, magazines or parts
  • Excludes conventional military weapon products and/or services
  • Excludes non-weapon-related revenue derived from military customers


  • Excludes alcohol beverage production, processing and manufacture
  • Excludes alcohol beverage sales


  • Excludes recreational Cannabis production
  • Excludes recreational Cannabis product sales

Adult entertainment:

  • Excludes Adult entertainment production
  • Excludes Adult entertainment sales and distribution


  • Excludes Tobacco production, processing and manufacture
  • Excludes Tobacco product sales


Respecting our Planet

Fossil fuel extraction: Pathfinder will not invest in companies that derive 5% or more of identifiable revenue from the exploration, extraction, conversion (with respect to thermal coal) or distribution of fossil fuels.

Palm oils and GMOs: Pathfinder will avoid companies whose operations are connected to palm oil production and use, as well as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) which are acknowledged as a fast evolving and ethically complex area, with both potential for significant cost and significant benefits

Respecting Animals

Animal Testing:

  • Excludes Animal Testing used for non-medical purposes
  • Excludes Animal testing used in the development of drugs or treatments designed for human therapeutic purposes

Factory Farming: Any agriculture that relies on keeping animals in conditions that do not allow them to express normal behaviour is inconsistent with Pathfinder's ethical principles. Pathfinder excludes livestock and poultry farming companies that use factory farming techniques.

Livestock export: Pathfinder will not invest in companies engaged in livestock export as it conflicts with UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Whaling: Pathfinder will not invest in companies exploiting animals for entertainment (such as an ocean theme park). Pathfinder believes they conflict with UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Corporate Governance & Proxy Voting

Pathfinder believes ethical investors have a responsibility to influence corporate behaviour and promote change. Pathfinder votes on resolutions at company meetings in line with their ethical believes and in a manner that they believe will enhance long-term value. They use a proxy voting service that provides research and guides to their voting decisions. Key votes that they identify are also reviewed by them to ensure alignment with their policies.

Engagement is not just voting. It also means actively promoting ethical investment and encouraging positive change by corporates. This includes:

  • Communicating with companies for example meeting with company management.
  • Being an active member of key organisations. Pathfinder is currently a member of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia and the Investor Group on Climate Change. They want to add their voice to lobbying efforts on key issues.


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 Pathfinder KiwiSaver Funds

Pathfinder KiwiSaver Plan has the following KiwiSaver Funds. More details on each of these funds can be found in the links below.

Pathfinder KiwiSaver Scheme Conservative Fund

Pathfinder KiwiSaver Scheme Balanced Fund

Pathfinder KiwiSaver Scheme Growth Fund


The right KiwiSaver fund will make a big difference to your KiwiSaver payout.

Spending 10 minutes to complete our KiwiSaver HealthCheck form may be the most important thing you can do for your KiwiSaver account right now.