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NZ fund managers reap $125.8M in fees from KiwiSaver as scheme keeps growing

Tuesday 23rd October 2012

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New Zealand fund managers pulled $125.8 million in administration and investment management fees from the country's KiwiSaver schemes, which continued to expand in the 2011 financial year.

Fees were the biggest cost on funds, accounting for about 1 percent of the $12.74 billion under management as at June 30, according to the Financial Markets Authority's annual review.

That's the same ratio as a year earlier, when fund managers reaped $92.8 million in fees. Fees for fund managers such as Milford Asset Management and Fisher Funds are required to be "not unreasonable", a measure that was met by all providers.

There were 1.91 million KiwiSaver members as at June 30, up from 1.75 million a year earlier. Of that, about 23.4 percent are in default schemes, down from 24.5 percent a year earlier. "Our desire is for members to make decisions based on their life stage, age and personal circumstances which will leave them in the best financial position when they reach NZ Super age," chief executive Sean Hughes said in a statement.

"KiwiSaver is a key focus for FMA, which has already published guidance on sales and distribution and performance fees." The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is seeking public submissions on draft regulations to make it easier to compare KiwiSaver performance, which are set to come into effect next year.

Under the regulations, KiwiSaver providers would have to publish one comprehensive disclosure statement every year, and four smaller, quarterly reports. The government put off a planned automatic enrolment of all workers into KiwiSaver this year, saying that would put the 2015 operating surplus at risk.

KiwiSaver has undergone a raft of changes under the National-led administration was elected in 2008, with the government last year halving its contribution to accounts and increasing the minimum employee and employer contribution to 3 percent from April next year to help shift the savings burden from the government and onto private sector. It had previously cut the minimum employee contribution to 2 percent from 4 percent.

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