Ninety per cent of staff at the New Zealand Super Fund pocketed six-figure pay packets in the past financial year - plus hefty bonuses.
The salaries were revealed in the $20 billion fund's annual report, released last year. Staff also received $4 million in bonuses last year, with the largest single payout of $205,000.
Chief executive Adrian Orr said the salaries were appropriate given the specialised nature of the work.
"Because we're small, everyone has a big job. They're often hired at a discount to their previous roles - and home-grown talent rising to the international challenge."
Orr said he was fiercely proud of the "good bastards" at the fund. "Our institution is a global investment business so we are out there competing with the global best to get access to the best investments."
Orr said employees had to work for four years before they were eligible for a full bonus.
"It avoids short-term thinking."
The figures were revealed in written answers to Parliament's Commerce Committee during a review of the fund's financial performance in 2011-12.
Among other revelations were 10 data security breaches between 2008 and 2011. In 2010, a document detailing a confidential investment deal was left on a printer. Orr said the deal was not compromised.
Their high standards for data security meant they reported every minor breach, he said, and none were recorded last year.
Orr said all costs, including staff salaries, were funded by investment returns and not by Parliamentary appropriation.
The company wants to make money for future generations of New Zealanders to retire on comfortably, Orr said. "That is a strong motivator for us."
In its latest report, the Super Fund announced a 20.37 per cent return on investments for 2012-13, and the fund size at January 31 was $21.81 billion.