About UniSaver

UniSaver New Zealand is an employer-sponsored registered superannuation scheme. It was established on 1 March 1993 and was known formerly as the New Zealand Universities’ Superannuation Scheme or NZUSS.

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, University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Massey University, University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington and The University of Waikato (‘the Universities’) and various companies and organisations associated with them.

See the full list of participating employers.

Who looks after UniSaver?

UniSaver Limited (we, our or us) is the issuer of UniSaver and its manager and trustee. UniSaver Limited has six directors: two are appointed by the universities, two are elected by the members of UniSaver in accordance with the procedures laid down in the trust deed and two are independent professional trustees.

The current directors are:

Independent chair
Malcolm Johnson Consulting company director and professional trustee, Wellington
Independent director and licensed independent trustee
Ian Russon Professional trustee, Wellington
Directors appointed by the Universities
Adrienne Cleland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Operations) & Registrar, University of Auckland, Auckland
Wayne Morgan Manager Projects, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington
Member-elected directors
Carolyn Dimond Chief Financial Officer, Massey University, Wellington
Michael McAlpine Senior Manager Strategic Finance, University of Otago, Dunedin
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. Ian Russon is the licensed independent trustee director for UniSaver.

Principal advisors

UniSaver Ltd has appointed Mercer (N.Z.) Limited as administration manager, Aon New Zealand 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 member tax credits from the Crown 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 of UniSaver.

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 Ltd. 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. Benefits are available on retirement, early retirement, retirement because of ill health, leaving service and, if you qualify, for the purchase of your first home. A benefit is also payable if you die. Different benefit rules apply to locked amounts held by locked members. Conditions apply to all 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.

Find out more about UniSaver

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