After several months of positive developments, a fresh cluster of COVID-19 cases has seen things tighten up with the nation moving out of Alert Level 1, back to Level 3 in Auckland and 2 elsewhere. This has understandably caused renewed concerns about the outlook for people, businesses and investments. But at this stage we haven’t seen the volatility in financial markets that we saw earlier in the year.
Back in March 2020, we saw the COVID-19 coronavirus spread further around the world. The uncertainty that it brought with it was felt in sharemarkets in New Zealand and globally. One of the biggest impacts was the volatility in sharemarkets, as they fell drastically from the highs we saw in February. In response to these unprecedented times, many Governments around the world, including here in New Zealand, took action to roll out financial packages to help individuals and businesses to keep going during the tough times. These actions, combined with progress to slow the spread of the virus in many countries, have been positive for sharemarkets and we’ve seen a significant recovery. Although the latest outbreak has been significant for New Zealanders, it’s a small part of a series of events in the overall global pandemic.
With this latest outbreak in New Zealand, the Government is extending its support. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand continues to play its part, by supporting households and businesses with its extremely low interest rate settings and other measures. Financial market volatility has been minimal over the period of the latest outbreak, and people haven’t seen the big changes in their investment balances like they did back in March.
Nonetheless, uncertainty like we are experiencing at present is always uncomfortable, but it’s important to remember that investing is for the long-term. Uncertainty, and the downs and ups we’ve been seeing in sharemarkets this year do happen from time to time, especially in response to such major global events. As we’ve seen in the past, the economy will recover, but this takes time, and is never all plain sailing in the investment world.
The key thing at times like this year is to make sure you’re invested in the right fund. An easy way to do this is to use our Help Me Choose tool for the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme. This will help you to make sure the fund you’re in suits your age and when you’re looking to start withdrawing your KiwiSaver savings, whether that’s to buy a home, or to use in your retirement.
Understanding your investment
If you’re a member of the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme, or any of our other investment products, it’s important to understand how your investment works. As an investor, you own units in a fund, and any time you add to your balance, such as when you make a contribution, you purchase more units. The number of units you get depends on how much money you’re contributing and the value of the units on that day – this value is known as the unit price.
One way to think about this is using the analogy of house values. The value of a house can fluctuate over time, in response to things like supply and demand in the area, mortgage rates and so on. However, if you own a house and the value falls, you still own the same house.
The balance you see when you log in to FastNet Classic or on the ASB mobile app is the current unit price multiplied by the number of units you own. Because markets have been volatile recently, largely in response to COVID-19, this has made the unit prices move down and up more than usual, and so investment balances have moved down and up in response, however the number of units you own remains the same.
What we are doing
We want to provide you with some peace of mind around ASB’s positioning. We’re safe, secure and well-placed to support our customers through the financial strain the current events are having on our economy. We’ve been supporting Kiwis for more than 170 years and we’re committed to helping our customers and community through this latest challenge.
Your requests and our processing times
If you’ve requested a fund switch or withdrawal, it’s important to understand that the final dollar amount paid to you or switched into your new fund selection is likely to be different from the balance shown in FastNet Classic. This is normal given unit prices can change in value everyday depending on how markets have performed.
Following the recovery of markets, we've seen enquiries to our contact centre ease, and our processing times have gone back to normal. Our contact centre team are available, as usual, to help you with your queries.
Remember, you can also manage your investments at any time through FastNet Classic internet banking and the ASB Mobile app. Please also take time to make sure you’re in the right fund for your investment goals and timeframe, you can follow the link relevant to you below:
ASB KiwiSaver Scheme
ASB Investment Funds
ASB Superannuation Master Trust – government employees
ASB Superannuation Master Trust – non-government employees
Keeping you informed
This content does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader. As individual circumstances differ, you should seek appropriate professional advice.
We believe that the information on this webpage is correct and any opinions, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available at the time of its compilation, but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in this document. Any opinions, conclusions or recommendations set forth in this document are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to the opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed elsewhere by ASB or Commonwealth Bank. We are under no obligation to, and do not, update or keep current the information contained in this document. No person involved in the preparation of this document accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of the use of all or any part of this document.
Interests in ASB Investment Funds, ASB Superannuation Master Trust and the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme (‘the Schemes’) are issued by ASB Group Investments Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of ASB Bank Limited (ASB). ASB provides administration and distribution services for the Schemes. No person guarantees interests in the Schemes. Interests in the Schemes are not deposits or other liabilities of ASB. They are subject to investment risk, including the loss of income and principal invested. For more information see the Schemes Product Disclosure Statements, available from the register of offers of financial products at www.business.govt.nz/disclose, (search for either ASB Investment Funds, ASB Superannuation Master Trust or ASB KiwiSaver Scheme).