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Craig Simpson examines how the New Zealand Super Fund stacks up against a sample of top performing KiwiSaver schemes

Posted in KiwiSaver

By Craig Simpson

Recently we highlighted the performance returns for a range of KiwiSaver schemes for the period to 30 September 2012.

Following on from these reports we thought it might be interesting to see how the taxpayer funded (albeit with its annual Crown contributions halted) NZ Super Fund (NZSF) has done over the same period.

Before diving into comparing the performances of the various KiwiSaver scheme providers and NZSF we have to take into account several key points which needs to be kept front of mind when making any comparisons and conclusions.

The key things to remember are:

-    NZSF has a much longer investment time horizon and this will influence the asset allocation and investment policies.

-    NZSF is considerably larger than the KiwiSaver scheme providers and this will benefit the NZSF in executing their strategy and lowering costs.

-    NZSF over time will have to allocate up to 40% of their capital to NZ investments either directly or via the stock market.

-    NZSF has a responsible investment element which will limit the investment universe.

-    The two investment schemes were set up for different purposes.

Compared to the top ten funds in our 'Growth' category (when ranked on our adjusted basis*), NZSF delivers superior returns over both one and three year time periods. 

The KiwiSaver schemes chosen are those which ranked the best on a three year period as per our ranking tables which can be found here ».

The returns slip somewhat over the past five years however the returns are still pretty good and NZSF would be around the middle of the selected sample group.

A number of factors will have contributed to the NZSF outperformance over the past one and three years including their exposure to directly held NZ companies, their allocation to global equities (circa 60%), their fee structure, along with their exposures to alternative assets such as timber, infrastructure and private equity.

The table below compares 10 Growth sector KiwiSaver schemes against the NZSF over a one, three and five year periods to 30 September 2012. The returns are as per those reported by the various scheme providers, are rounded to one decimal place and are after fees and before tax. No other adjustments have been made.

30 September, 2012 1 year
3 year
5 year 
NZ Super Fund 20.9% 11.5% 2.7%
Best KiwiSaver Growth funds:      
AMP One Path Balanced 14.4% 8.7% 3.7%
OnePath SIL Balanced Growth 15.0% 7.9% 2.7%
Aon Russell Lifepoints Balanced 13.7% 8.2% 2.2%
National Bank Balanced Growth 15.0% 7.9% 2.5%
ANZ Balanced Growth 14.8% 7.5% 3.6%
Aon One Path Balanced 13.4% 8.1% 4.1%
Aon Russell Lifepoints 2035 14.1% 8.1% 1.3%
Aon Russll Lifepoints Growth 14.4% 7.9% 0.8%
SuperLife AIM 60 12.9% 7.2% 4.6%
OnePath Balanced Growth 12.8% 6.9% n/a













Past returns should not be used as a guide to future performance.

* The above table shows returns on an 'as reported' basis, which is slightly different to the way we selected them for inclusion.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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