Low-cost KiwiSaver provider Simplicity is expanding to offer non-KiwiSaver investment funds, promising to slash at least 50 per cent off the industry fee average.
Non-for-profit Simplicity was launched by former Tower investment head Sam Stubbs in August last year and has already attracted $90 million from more than 3500 KiwiSaver members.
Now it plans to offer investors options outside of KiwiSaver with the advantage that people will be able to withdraw their money at any time.
Stubbs said it hoped to shake up the investment fund sector like it had done for KiwiSaver.
"Fees for KiwiSaver funds are already way too high, and managed investment schemes
are even worse.
"Some are just outrageous, reflecting old ways of managing money and sales tactics which belong in the last century," he said.
Stubbs said if Simplicity's lower fees were applied across the $40 billion managed fund sector people could save close to half a billion a year in fees.
"A Kiwi with $50,000 invested in our growth fund over 10 years could be $13,000 better
off than the average fund," he said.
Simplicity will offer conservative, balanced and growth fund options with a flat fee of 0.31 per cent of the money invested plus a $30 annual fee.
That compares to conservative fund fees which range between 0.97 per cent and 2.38 per cent, balanced fund fees which range between 1.16 per cent and 2.75 per cent and growth fees which range from 1.25 per cent to 2.93 per cent.
The funds will have over 9000 investments in 23 countries and the overseas portion will be invested via Vanguard - a global investment manager which invests using passive index-tracking.
As with its KiwiSaver fund the new investment funds will also exclude investments in nuclear weapons, cluster bombs, mines and tobacco.
Stubbs said he had planned to launch non-KiwiSaver funds at the end of the year but had brought it forward due to demand.
"About one in five of our KiwiSaver members have asked for an option that allows them
to withdraw money at any time.
"They don't get the member tax credit that KiwiSaver offers, but the freedom to withdraw is important for them."
The funds will have a minimum investment of $10,000 which could potentially shut out a number of mum and dad investors.
But Stubbs said it had to set that minimum in order to make it cost effective.
"It is not economic to have extremely small funds, $10,000 is not an unusual amount."
Simplicity will donate 15 per cent of its management fees to charity.
It will accept funds from April 3.