BNZ set to crash KiwiSaver party, registers scheme with FMA

BNZ finally appears set to crash the KiwiSaver party some five and a half years after it began.

The bank, the only major bank without its own KiwiSaver scheme, has registered a KiwiSaver scheme with the Financial Markets Authority.

The registration lists the name of the manager as BNZ Investment Services Ltd and the trustee as New Zealand Guardian Trust Co.

Up until now BNZ has run no KiwiSaver scheme of its own, rather offering the AXA KiwiSaver scheme to its retail customers and AMP's to employers.

A BNZ spokeswoman told that under the Securities Act the bank can't comment on plans for its KiwiSaver scheme until a prospectus has been registered.

"We anticipate that will be in the next few weeks. We can however advise that BNZ Investment Services Limited is considering making an offer of securities to the public, however no money is currently being sought and no applications for securities will be accepted or money received unless and until the subscriber has received an investment statement," the spokeswoman said.

Launched in July 2007, more than two million New Zealanders now have KiwiSaver accounts although monthly sign ups are slowing.

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Asked about the possibility of BNZ launching its own KiwiSaver scheme, Tracey Berry, BNZ's then head of wealth and private bank, told a year ago to watch this space. And CEO Andrew Thorburn said last May: "KiwiSaver, superannuation, will be an important vehicle for us. We will have a quality, sustainable solution in that space and it's an area that we will want to grow over time."

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Anyone considering this addition to the plethora of KiwiSaver options will do well to check out the registered superannuation plans that BNZ previously had - and marketed after they passed management to another firm.  These were called "Future Lifestyle Plans" and one of them is still non-performing and frozen after nearly four years.     This was the plan specifically marketed to those 'approaching retirement or in retirement'.   

If my memory serves me right some of the funds were frozen due to holdings in various Mortgage Funds which were caught by the GFC.
BNZ were not the only one to get caught in this regard - basically anyone offering a mortgage fund with a lock in provision took a hit.
According to BNZ's website the FLP's are currently 'managed' by AMP and some are being wound up. AMP took over management following the takeover of AXA who previously bought BNZ investment management back in 2005 (ish)

Kiwisaver was launched in 2007 and BNZ have only now got around to launching a scheme. Unbelievable they have let this happen! What has the CEO and his team been doing all this time? Hardly builds confidence that they will take the Kiwisaver market seriously. Their best bet is to pay over-the-top for Tower's Kiwisaver to try and build some critical mass.