Advice matters
What the KiwiSaver ‘default’ shake-up means for you

Every seven years, the Government updates the list of KiwiSaver default funds, based on fees, services, and value for money.

Are you invested with any of the providers who will lose their ‘default’ status from 1 December? Or possibly in another ‘default’ KiwiSaver fund? Are you unsure?

Here’s what the latest KiwiSaver shake-up may mean for you.

Firstly, what are KiwiSaver default providers?

People who don’t select a KiwiSaver fund when they start work, and who are not already KiwiSaver members, are automatically enrolled in a ‘default fund’ by their employer. This means that, if you’ve never actively chosen a fund, you’re probably still invested with one of the default providers.

But remember, a default provider may not be the most appropriate option for your circumstances, so making an active choice of fund is important. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Who are the new providers of KiwiSaver default funds?

Up to this year, the default providers have been BNZ, Booster, BT Funds (Westpac), Kiwi Wealth, AMP, ANZ, ASB, Fisher Funds, and Mercer.

From 1 December 2021, the new providers will be BNZ, Booster, BT Funds (Westpac), Kiwi Wealth, Simplicity, and Smartshares (NZX).

This means that AMP, ANZ, ASB, Fisher Funds and Mercer will lose their ‘default provider’ status. And this is not all.

Default funds are no longer ‘conservative’, but ‘balanced’

Historically, KiwiSaver default funds have always been ‘conservative’, meaning low risk and likely to deliver low returns in the long run. But this is about to change.

From 1 December 2021, the default providers must invest default members into a balanced fund rather than a conservative fund. It’s good news for KiwiSaver members who have not chosen their own funds, as balanced funds are more likely to generate greater investment returns over time. Plus, they will charge lower fees and won’t invest in fossil fuel production or illegal weapons. 

While these changes enhance the default funds’ settings, they don’t make an active choice of fund any less important. And now can be a great opportunity to do just that – here’s why.

Are you with a default provider? Here’s what will happen next

Here’s what will happen on 1 December:

  • If you are a default member, your KiwiSaver savings will be automatically moved to a balanced fund (from conservative) after 1 December. You don’t need to do anything, unless you want to stay in a conservative fund – in which case you’ll need to contact your provider.
  • If you are a default member and are not with one of the new providers, after 1 December you will automatically be transferred to a new provider, and invested in a balanced fund. If you want to stay with your current provider, you will need to contact them.

That said, a balanced fund may not be suitable for your risk profile and investment horizon. For example, if your retirement years are still a long way off, you may be able to take on a higher risk for potentially higher returns over time. On the other hand, if you’re planning to use your KiwiSaver money soon (for retirement or your first home), you may want to switch to a lower-risk option to protect your balance…

So here are some key steps to take next

If you’d like to make the most of your KiwiSaver, consider the following steps:

  • Check who your KiwiSaver provider is – Get in touch with a SHARE adviser: we can help you find out who your KiwiSaver provider is. Alternatively, call 0800 KIWISAVER or log in to MyKiwiSaver.
  • Know the type of fund you’re in – Are you in a defensive, conservative, balanced, growth, or aggressive fund? Is it appropriate for your needs and goals? Once again, feel free to contact us or your provider to find out.
  • Make an active choice – Once you know where your money is, you can determine if the fund is the right fit for you, or select a different fund type and/or provider. Don’t hesitate to contact us: we’re here to help you make an informed decision.

We’re in your corner

Our SHARE advisers are here to answer all your questions, big and small. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your options, or visit to learn more about how we can help you. Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.