Finalists for the 2011 KiwiSaver fund manager of the year award will be named next week in advance of Morningstar's fourth annual awards night March 1.
Co-head of research Chris Douglas said the 16 participating providers were being judged across a broad range of areas including performance, transparency and disclosure, investor experience and qualitative analysis.
"We're looking for the ones who've not only done well in the last year but also those who've consistently rewarded their investors as well,'' said Douglas.
As with last year, Morningstar will be drawing on input and observations from a team of Massey University post-graduate students in finance recruited to mystery shops the 16 providers vying for the award.
Douglas said the students' assessment would be given "meaningful" weight and consideration. He said the students were tasked with evaluating websites and content posted by providers, disclosure statements, information on funds and their performance and other education materials.
"We wanted to ensure that we had people who weren't part of the industry, who don't have their own personal biases that come from being a researcher and covering all the different managers.''
Douglas said the students were valuable to the process as they created great discussion and debate as independent observers.
The 2011 KiwiSaver fund manager of the year will be named March 1.