UniSaver New Zealand is an employer-sponsored registered superannuation scheme. It was established on 1 March 1993. Membership of UniSaver is available to all permanent and eligible fixed-term employees of participating New Zealand universities. The current participants in UniSaver are:

  • The University of Auckland
    • Auckland UniServices Limited
  • The University of Waikato
  • Massey University
    • Massey Ventures
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Victoria Link Limited t/a Wellington UniVentures
  • University of Canterbury
  • Lincoln University
    • Lincoln Hospitality Limited
    • Lincoln Agritech Limited
  • University of Otago
  • Universities NZ
    • Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities

Trustee

UniSaver Limited is the trustee and manager of UniSaver New Zealand. UniSaver is the only scheme we manage. We do not carry out any other business other than acting as trustee of the scheme.

Our purpose

We help members provide for their long-term financial security. We deliver an attractive and competitive benefit that supports universities’ efforts to recruit and retain staff.

Our vision

UniSaver is the natural choice for university staff. Members are engaged and feel empowered to make choices that support their financial wellbeing.

Our mission

We provide a carefully designed, industry-leading retirement savings plan. We support universities to provide competitive benefits aiding staff wellbeing, retention, engagement and satisfaction.

We provide considered stewardship as kaitiaki of our members’ savings. We make prudent decisions based on expert advice and best practice. We leverage the scheme’s not-for-profit status to deliver value for money.

We offer educational opportunities, resources and tools that empower all university staff to set and achieve their financial goals.

Our values

  • Inclusivity
  • Integrity
  • Excellence

Directors of the trustee

UniSaver Limited currently has six directors. Two directors are appointed by the universities, two are elected by the members of UniSaver in accordance with the procedures laid down in the trust deed [PDF, 773 KB] and two are independent professional trustees.

Ian

Ian Russon | Independent chair Professional director

Ian has had a long career in the financial services industry. Following periods working in the UK, Canada, Hong Kong and Germany, he joined the Financial Markets Department of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand in 1995 and held various management positions focusing on foreign exchange reserves management and monetary policy implementation. In 2002, Ian joined Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) and, for the majority of his time at the bank, was Head of Financial Institutions & Public Sector. In 2017, Ian resigned from the bank to work as a professional director. In addition to his role with PSS Trustees Limited, he is chair of PSS Trustees Limited, and the New Zealand Defence Force Superannuation Scheme Advisory Trust Board. He is a director of the trustee of The Salvation Army New Zealand Officers’ Superannuation Scheme and a member of the board of management of the Bank of New Zealand Officers' Provident Association.

Tim

Tim Bluett | Director (appointed by the universities) Chief Financial Officer, University of Auckland

Tim is Chief Financial Officer at the University of Auckland, a position he has held since 2021. Prior to that his background covered CFO and senior leadership positions in listed corporations spanning the technology and telecommunications sectors in New Zealand and internationally. Tim joined the UniSaver board in 2024 as a universities-appointed director and brings a deep knowledge of the tertiary sector, as well as a breadth of experience in finance, strategy, and governance.

Toby

Toby Daglish | Member-elected director Associate Professor, School of Economics and Finance, Victoria University of Wellington

Toby Daglish was elected by members as a director in 2021. He is an associate professor of finance at Victoria University of Wellington, where he has taught since 2006. His research areas are investments, portfolio theory, energy markets, derivatives, and fixed income. From 2011-2014, Toby was the research director of the New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation, which undertook applied research in finance and economics. Prior to joining VUW, Toby taught finance at the University of Iowa, and was an analyst at NZ Treasury. He holds a PhD in finance from the University of Toronto.

Amanda

Amanda Derry | Director (appointed by the universities) Director, People and Culture, University of Canterbury

Amanda is the Director of People and Culture at the University of Canterbury and has worked in the New Zealand tertiary sector since migrating from the UK in 2005. She is an experienced HR leader with a background in remuneration and superannuation, a member of the Institute of Directors and brings a breadth of experience in the education and tertiary sectors to the Board.

Carolyn

Carolyn Dimond | Member-elected director Chief Financial Officer, Massey University

Carolyn is Chief Financial Officer at Massey University. She has been a member-elected director for UniSaver Limited since 2015. Before joining Massey University, Carolyn was an Executive Director at EY providing assurance services to many financial service clients, including KiwiSaver and superannuation schemes as well as a number of tertiary institutes. She has extensive governance experience and holds a number of directorships.

Sarah

Sarah Graydon | Licensed independent trustee Professional director

Sarah is an experienced lawyer who has worked in a number of areas and predominantly in in-house roles. She headed up the legal team at New Zealand Post for 8 years and now works with Juno Legal providing advisory, coaching and legal services centred on in-house legal functions. Sarah’s governance experience spans superannuation, health and education. She is a licensed independent trustee and currently holds positions with three other superannuation schemes as well as UniSaver.

Licensed independent trustee

The Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 requires that at least one of our directors is a licensed independent trustee. Licences are granted by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and are subject to conditions, including regular reporting to the FMA. Sarah Graydon is the licensed independent trustee director for UniSaver.

Principal advisers

UniSaver Ltd has appointed Mercer (N.Z.) Limited as administration manager and as its secretary and Russell Investments Group Limited as investment consultant and investment manager.

How UniSaver works

UniSaver is a defined contribution superannuation scheme. This means that benefits from UniSaver are based on contributions made and investment returns received, after deduction of fees, expenses and tax.

UniSaver has a complying superannuation fund section (the locked section), which offers government contributions in the same way as KiwiSaver in return for stricter contribution and withdrawal requirements. If you are a fixed-term employee, you can only participate in the locked section.

Contributions

Depending on your membership category, you will usually need to contribute a minimum of either 3% or 4% of your salary.

Most members qualify for an employer subsidy provided their employer is not contributing to another superannuation scheme for them. If you qualify, your employer will generally contribute $1.35 (before tax) for every $1 you contribute. To achieve the maximum employer subsidy of 6.75% (before tax) of your salary, you need to contribute 5% of your salary.

If you don’t qualify for an employer subsidy, you can still join UniSaver and may qualify for compulsory employer contributions (currently 3%) if you join the locked section.

Investment options

Members are offered a choice of UniSteps, which is a 'glide path' structure where the allocation to growth assets reduces over time, or their own mix of four base options (Growth, Balanced, Conservative and Cash), each with a different, largely fixed split between growth and income assets. UniSteps uses three options - Growth, Balanced and Conservative - as 'building blocks' to transition members' savings from predominantly growth assets to predominantly income assets over time.

Fees and expenses

Fees are charged to UniSaver by UniSaver’s administration manager, secretary, investment consultant and investment manager, communications consultant, website provider and the independent directors of UniSaver Limited. Investment management fees are usually deducted from the assets invested on UniSaver’s behalf. Expenses associated with operating UniSaver are usually paid out of UniSaver or, in the case of investment expenses, from its investments. Some service fees apply.

These fees and expenses will affect your benefit from UniSaver.

Benefits

Because UniSaver is a superannuation scheme intended to help you save for your retirement, withdrawals are restricted. Different benefit rules apply to locked amounts held by locked members. Conditions apply to all benefits. Read more about benefits.

Risks

All investments involve risk. The principal risks applying to UniSaver that could affect your returns are investment risk, counter-party risk and risks relating to the performance of parties involved in UniSaver, risks relating to the collection and payment of contributions by employers and tax and regulatory risk.

Investments in UniSaver are not guaranteed.