David Chaplin 's Opinion

A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

Inside Money: KiwiSaver - one in five schemes to go

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

The number of registered KiwiSaver schemes is set to drop by over 20 per cent as mergers, acquisitions and commercial fatigue compress the market into a denser form.

By my reckoning 11 of the current 51 KiwiSaver schemes registered with the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) will be officially struck off within months.

Most of the large (or largish) scheme closures have already been reported, but to recap:

* Tower will disappear as Fisher Funds takes control;

* The scheme formerly known as Axa will become one with AMP;

* Kiwibank will, one day soon, close its AMP-managed scheme and attempt to transfer members across to the Gareth Morgan-branded unit;

* ASB has chosen to shutter its also-ran scheme, FirstChoice; and,

* In line with its broad brand right-sizing, ANZ will bring the green National Bank KiwiSaver under its blue roof.

But as well as these fairly major revamps a number of smaller schemes are also due to exit the market. Firstly, the tiny MSF KiwiSaver scheme, offered by Auckland-based firm Mutual Superannuation Fund, has filed its final accounts.

The demise of the MSF scheme is no surprise (it's been reported several times) and the wind-up accounts show why. In the 15 months to the end of September last year, MSF managed to accrue just a further $5,586 in funds, closing out the period with a grand total of $46,012 (attributable to six members).

Likewise, the PSBG (Professionals Superannuation and Benefits Group) will also hand in its KiwiSaver credentials. While the PSBG website appears to have disintegrated, as last reported its KiwiSaver scheme had about $1.7 million and 130 members. After five years in operation you can see why PSBG called it quits.

Also recently-closed are four other workplace-based KiwiSaver schemes: Ecolab, Stevenson Group, Hexion and the New Zealand Maritime Officer, which peaked with funds under management of about $245,000, $572,000, $412,000 and $192,000 respectively.

While the wind-ups make sense, they're another reminder that employers are increasingly distant from the KiwiSaver choices of their employees.

David Chaplin

A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

David is a freelance journalist who has covered the financial services business on both sides of the Tasman for over 15 years. David has edited magazines and websites for the financial advice, investment and superannuation industries. Today, he contributes to various publications in Australia as well as his bi-weekly blog for the NZ Herald under the 'Inside Money' banner.

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