The whole truth on KiwiSaver fees

16 December 2016 / Published in Your Money

By Jonathan Beale, ASB’s General Manager Wealth. 

KiwiSaver scheme fees have been in the news lately, with mud slung at banks over the new rules proposed for the way fees are disclosed.

The Government has announced KiwiSaver providers will have to start disclosing their fees in dollar terms on their annual statements to members.

That means KiwiSavers can read the amount of fees they are charged in dollars and cents, instead of as a percentage of their KiwiSaver balance.

In other words, in a way that’s easy to understand.

This proposed change doesn’t affect ASB's KiwiSaver customers. We’ve been reporting fees in this way for some time (five years to be precise). Afterall, these fees have a direct impact on your savings.

When ASB customers get their annual KiwiSaver statements, we make it easy for them to see exactly what they pay in administration and management fees, right down to the last cent.  There are no hidden fees or charges.

So, we commend the Government for requiring fees to be reported in this way.

Noise has been made however, because it won’t be compulsory for all KiwiSaver providers to report fees in dollar terms until 2018. Banks with KiwiSaver schemes have been accused of dragging the chain with claims it’s a costly task to change their systems to report in this way.

Some certainly think two years is far too long. An independent KiwiSaver provider even had the gall to offer to calculate the fees on the banks’ behalf. (Thanks, but at ASB we won’t be taking that up!)

Debate over the two-year compliance period is not territory we want to wade into.

The fact is, ASB KiwiSaver scheme customers enjoy this transparent reporting of their annual fees now.

Our fees have never been hidden, and we think all KiwiSavers deserve to have the full picture of what they pay in fees to their provider.

Simplifying fees and other information about  KiwiSaver is a big step to helping improve the engagement we all have with our KiwiSaver accounts. In turn, that knowledge helps us make informed decisions about our retirement savings.

ASB was always in favour of the industry disclosing fees in dollar terms, and our submission to the Government earlier this year was in favour of this change – a stand that set us apart from other banks.

Not only are we proud to have led the way with fee transparency, we are also proud to have some of the lowest fees in the market.

This year, independent ratings agency Canstar awarded the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme Balanced Fund and Growth Fund five stars for ‘outstanding value’ six years in a row. The ASB KiwiSaver Scheme NZ Cash Fund was also rated five stars for outstanding value.

One of our core investment beliefs is that the cost of managing your money is an important component of investment returns.  We focus on keeping investment costs as low as possible, meaning that more of our customers’ money is invested to earn returns.


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