Investment options

Your savings in the scheme are pooled with those of other members and spread across many individual investments. Those investments fall into two basic categories: growth assets and income assets. Growth assets are best suited to long-term saving. Income assets are best suited to short-term saving. Here’s why. 



With UniSteps, the mix of growth and income assets changes automatically as you get older. Up until age 45, your savings are invested in approximately 80% growth assets. From then, the percentage of growth assets is reduced gradually to approximately 20% from age 69. Here’s how it works. 

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UniSteps uses three of the base investment options below – Growth, Balanced and Conservative – to transition your savings from predominantly growth assets to predominantly income assets over time. The investment mix changes on 1 November each year, not on your birthday or the anniversary of the date you joined UniSaver.

UniSteps is the default investment option if you don’t tell us how you would like your savings invested when you join UniSaver. We can change the default investment option from time to time.

Other investment options

If you prefer, you can create your own mix of growth and income assets by choosing one or a combination of four base investment options: Growth, Balanced, Conservative and Cash. Each is made up of growth and income assets mixed in different amounts. You can choose to invest your savings in one, or a combination of, the four base options. But, remember, if you put 50% in Growth and 50% in Conservative, you are effectively investing in Balanced. You can see how different combinations of the options look on the secure part of the website. Log in, select ‘Your investments’ and then the ‘Investment choice planner’ link. You can also choose different options for your existing account balances and for future contributions. You cannot mix and match between UniSteps and the four base options.

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These percentages are the benchmark asset allocations for each investment option. Our investment manager may occasionally move away from the benchmark temporarily within specified ranges. See detailed benchmark asset allocations for each option below.

Here’s a more detailed comparison of the four base investment options

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We’ve decided to introduce two new asset classes to the portfolio: global listed infrastructure and global high-yield debt. The intention is to diversify the portfolio further and improve the risk/return relationship of Growth, Balanced and Conservative. We had hoped to introduce the new asset classes on 1 November 2017. However, we are currently working through a number of technical difficulties which will delay implementation until early 2018. 


The trustee has set investment objectives for each of the four base options.

Option Objective
Growth Growth is constructed with a focus on achieving returns of 2.75% above inflation over rolling 10-year periods, while keeping the risk of a member losing more than 20% after inflation in any one year reasonably small. 
Balanced Balanced is constructed with a focus on achieving returns of 2.25% above inflation over rolling 7-year periods, while keeping the risk of a member losing more than 15% after inflation in any one year reasonably small. 
Conservative Conservative is constructed with a focus on there being a reasonably small risk of a member losing more than 5% after inflation in any one year, while typically achieving returns of 1.25% above inflation over rolling 3-year periods. 
Cash Cash aims to provide a return broadly in line with that of the S&P/NZX Bank Bills 90-Day Index after tax. There is a very small probability of experiencing a loss in any one year.

Change your investment choice

You can change your investment choice online at any time. You can also download a form or phone the helpline. Your change will be processed effective from the first day of the next month. Submit your application at least five working days before the end of the month. Your change won’t be visible on the website until around the middle of the following month when the prior month’s interest rates have been applied.

There is no charge the first time you change your investment choice each calendar year. A fee applies for subsequent changes.


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