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. 

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UniSteps

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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Objectives

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.

See how the investment options are tracking.

Change your investment choice

You can change your investment choice (future contributions and/or current account balances) 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.

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

Remember, you can switch to UniSteps or one or a combination of the four base investment options: Growth, Balanced, Conservative and Cash.

Switching from UniSteps or between the four base options

You can choose different strategies for your current account balances and for future contributions. 

Switching to UniSteps

You can’t mix and match between ‘UniSteps’ and the four base options. You must choose ‘UniSteps’ for both your current account balances and future contributions if you are switching to UniSteps from Growth, Balanced, Conservative and/or Cash. 

Timing

Any change you make to your future contributions will take effect from the beginning of the month following your request. The change will be visible on the ‘Investments’ page when you sign into your account as soon as it’s processed, usually within a few days.

Any change you make to how your current account balances are invested will also take effect from the beginning of the month following your request. However, the change won’t be visible when you sign into your account until after the interest rates are loaded for that prior month – usually about the 20th of the month following your request.  

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