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South Island tribe looks to add KiwiSaver scheme

Ngāi Tahu's successful savings scheme for its iwi is considering offering a white-label KiwiSaver scheme to its 24,000 members.    

Sunday, November 19th 2017, 6:00AM

Te Rūnanga oto Ngāi Tahu is seeking expressions of interest from KiwiSaver providers to see if it could offer a scheme to tribal members their own scheme and it is looking to see if  additional risk options, or investment choice, could be added to its exisiting savings scheme in the near future.

Eleven years ago the iwi's investment arm, Whai Rawa, launched a unit trust to help build the wealth of Ngāi Tahu individuals. It currently has more than 24,000 members out of a tribal registration of 59,000 and investments total $64 million.

The current offering is a lower-risk conservative fund only and invests into one of Mercer's funds.

Whai Rawa executive director David Tikao says a survey of current members showed that the majority already had KiwiSaver accounts, and that the take up of KiwiSaver amongst this group is higher than the national average.

An expression of interest document is being circulated to see if Whai Rawa can provide a white label KiwiSaver product for iwi members. If a provider was found they could also end up managing the existing unit trust run by Mercer.

In the EoI document Whai Rawa asks for include specific fee pricing and costing arrangements for a KiwiSaver scheme with 5,000 members and $75 million funds under management, and pricing for a scheme with 10,000 membersand $150 million FUM.

Previously, there was another Maori-based KiwiSaver scheme, IwiSaver, however that folded a number of years ago.

Tikao says the Ngāi Tahu proposal is different as IwiSaver was established as a commercial venture, while Ngai Tahu is looking to offer a scheme to its members, where the tribe pays the fees.

Tags: investment KiwiSaver Mercer risk

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