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KiwiSaver members want DIY approach

Most KiwiSaver members want to be able to take a DIY approach to their investments, ASB’s GM of wealth says.

Friday, September 25th 2015, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

Jonathan Beale said the bank has seen a big increase in the number of people making voluntary KiwiSaver contributions since it allowed them to do so online.

In 2014, the only way that people could make extra contributions to their ASB KiwiSaver account was to go into a branch. That year, about 28 people a day did so.

This year, about 30 a day are still going into a branch to make KiwiSaver contributions but another 233 a day are making KiwiSaver contributions via mobile or internet banking. Beale said contributions ranged from $25 to thousands of dollars.

He said: “It seems to me that’s where KiwiSaver needs to go, with simple tools so people can manage their KiwiSaver themselves. It tells me people want to be able to do it themselves, they don’t want to sit down with someone and get advice.”

The online KiwiSaver access also gives investors the ability to move their money between funds when they want to, as well as monitor movements in their balance.

Beale said when Chinese sharemarkets had a day of sharp volatility last month, the number of fund switches spiked to 241, from a normal rate of about 50 per day.

Beale said the switches moved from higher growth to lower growth funds.

There are fears that investors used to strong returns in growth funds may be spooked if markets tumble and put their money into lower-risk funds, consolidating their losses.

Beale said the amount of switching that had been seen so far was not a worry.

He said the bank had a policy of contacting KiwiSaver members who switched fund more than four times in a set period. “We would call them to make sure they understand what they are doing.”

He said as a percentage of the bank’s 465,000 KiwiSaver members, 241 was still a small number. “It has eased off since then.”

Tags: ASB

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