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ANZ calls for action on women's savings

ANZ is calling on other employers to do their bit to help women achieve better outcomes through KiwiSaver.

Thursday, July 30th 2015, 6:01AM

by Susan Edmunds

The bank announced yesterday that it would continue to pay employer contributions to its employees' KiwiSaver accounts while they are off work on parental leave.

ANZ general manager of human resources Felicity Evans said the move was part of its Wise Women campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the imbalance between men's and women's retirement savings outcomes.

The bank says Kiwi women retire with about $60,000 less than men, on average.

Evans said: “We have done this because we do not want our staff to be penalised for taking time out to raise families. This is a first for New Zealand and we hope it encourages other companies to also consider how they can support their employees in saving for their retirement.”

ANZ has more than 9000 staff, with about 200 on parental leave at any one time. It provides 16 weeks of parental leave on full pay and will increase that to 18 weeks from next year, topping up the paid parental leave available from the IRD.

The median net worth of women aged 45 to 64 is $146,100, compared to $167,300 for men of the same age.

At retirement, ANZ estimates women will have an average $144,000 to last them just over 20 years. Men will retire with an average $203,000 to last 17.3 years.

The average balance for women in the ANZ KiwiSaver schemes is just under $9000, 28% less than the male average. Two years ago, the gap was 26.5%.

ANZ general manager of wealth products and marketing Ana-Marie Lockyer said the type of fund women chose could also affect their outcomes.

Only 10% of women surveyed said they did not mind higher volatility if it meant better returns over time: “More women than men are in our conservative funds and this can have a big impact on financial outcomes over the long term. The maths shows that women could be $90,000 worse off by remaining in the conservative fund over the long term," Lockyer said.

The KiwiSaver top-up applies to any ANZ staff taking parental leave from October this year.

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell welcomed the move. “This is the kind of innovation that shows what a key role employers can play,' she said.

Tags: ANZ KiwiSaver

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