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Growing group want advice

Online KiwiSaver advice offerings will never replace personalised advice, says the founder of one that went live this week.

Wednesday, October 22nd 2014, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

SavvyKiwi launched on Monday.

It offers a free tool that allows people to see how their KiwiSaver funds are performing against others that are similar.

It also offers premium memberships, for $89 for one year, $159 for 24 months and $209 for 36 months, to match a saver to the right fund, provide expert views on the fund, ongoing information and educational videos.

Founder Binu Paul said most people were signing up for 12-month subscriptions at present but he hoped they would eventually become long-term clients. “Ultimately, that’s what we’re trying to provide.”

SavvyKiwi holds regular one-on-one meetings with fund providers and would send emails to members about any developments.

Paul said: “We have interaction with the fund to find out what’s going on and it’s up to us to decide what’s relevant.  If a manager moves on, we go in and find out what that means. If it’s not a big deal, we let you know. In the alternative scenario, if it’s a pretty big move, we’ll give you some alternatives to consider.”

Meetings would be held with the people managing the money every three months.

Paul said the offer would probably not appeal to the vast majority of KiwiSavers at the moment. But there was a group who wanted more information about their KiwiSaver investments.

“Most people don’t understand the value-add but there are people who do value and understand it and that group is growing. Over the next few years, people may be surprised at their KiwiSaver balances and sit up and take notice.”

Clients who had a face-to-face meeting with a financial adviser would get more value than from an online service, he said. “They can talk about the mortgage, whether you’re saving for kids’ education, whether you need a holiday, what insurances you have and what you want your retirement lifestyle to be like. We’re probably in a slightly different space, we don’t get into personalised advice.”

But clients who met an adviser face-to-face would need to pay much more, he said.

SavvyKiwi would narrow down the choices of funds to three for each person. Out of those three, it was up to the individual to decide which was best.

Videos would give them extra information, such as about what a passive or active approach would mean. “We don’t want people making a choice without knowing what it means,” Paul said.

« FMA warns KiwiSaver providers to put customers firstKiwiSaver members told: Don't forget tax »

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