Section 2How does this investment work?

About UniSaver

UniSaver is a workplace savings scheme designed to help you save for your retirement. Only employees of participating universities and certain other employers (participating employers) may become members. UniSaver is a trust under a trust deed. It is a restricted scheme, which means that one of our directors is required to hold a licence under the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMCA).

UniSaver has a standard section and a complying fund section (locked section). The locked section offers government contributions from the Crown in exchange for locking in contributions in the same way as KiwiSaver.

The scheme is a managed fund. This means that your money is pooled with other members’ money and invested by us. A managed fund can give you access to investments that you may not be able to access as an individual.

All contributions are divided into units when paid into your member accounts and are invested in your chosen investment option(s). We hold each investment option’s assets on trust. A unit represents a share in an investment option you are invested in, so you have an interest in your share of the assets held in that investment option. Your units don’t give you legal ownership of the assets but do give you the right to returns from them.

The benefits you receive depend on the contributions made by you and your employer (if applicable), fees deducted directly from your accounts and the value of the units in your member accounts. The value of your units will change based on investment gains or losses and deductions attributable to your investment option(s).

If the assets of an investment option are insufficient to meet its liabilities, the assets of other investment options may be applied to meet those liabilities.

Joining the scheme

Who can join?

Use this diagram to see if you can join UniSaver.

To join, complete the Membership application at the back of this product disclosure statement [PDF, 162 KB] (PDS).

Choosing an investment option

You can choose between UniSteps and the other four investment options. You cannot mix and match between UniSteps and the other options.

If you don’t choose UniSteps, you can choose one or a combination of the other four options. If you choose more than one option, your choice must add up to 100%.

If you do not choose an investment option, you will be invested in UniSteps. If your chosen options do not add up to 100%, any unallocated portion will be invested in Balanced. We can change these default options from time to time.

Making investments

How to contribute

UniSaver is split into two sections: the standard section and the locked section. Contributions to the standard section don't qualify for government contributions. Contributions to the locked section may qualify for government contribution in return for locking in your saving in this section until age 65.

You decide what percentage of your salary you would like to contribute. Your options depend on your membership category. In most cases, your membership category will be category A. However, if your employer is contributing or required to contribute to another superannuation scheme (including KiwiSaver) on your behalf, your membership category will be category B unless your HR/payroll representative has confirmed that you are eligible to receive employer contributions to UniSaver.

See the document Other material information [PDF, 156 KB] on the offer register at www.disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz [external link] for a flowchart to assist you to determine your category type.

The contribution rules for each membership category are set out below.

 

Category A member

  • You can contribute any multiple of 0.5% of your salary with a minimum of 3%. There is no upper limit.
  • Your minimum may increase to 4% of your salary if your employer is not contributing at least 1% of your salary. This could occur if your employer is already contributing to a KiwiSaver scheme for you.
  • Your employer will contribute 1.35 times your contributions up to a maximum of 6.75%. You need to contribute 5% of your salary to gain the maximum employer subsidy.
  • If you are a permanent employee and choose to join the locked and standard sections:
    • you must direct at least 3% of your salary to your member locked account (in multiples of 0.5%), with the balance (if any) paid to your member standard account
    • your employer will match your regular contributions to the locked section, with the balance paid to your employer standard account.
  • If you are a permanent employee and choose to join the locked section only, all your contributions and your employer contributions will be paid to your locked accounts.
  • If you are a fixed-term employee, all your contributions and your employer contributions will be paid to your locked accounts.

 

The employer contributions outlined in this section may reduce if your employer is contributing or required to contribute to a KiwiSaver scheme for you. Your employer’s contribution may be reduced by the percentage of salary it contributes to your KiwiSaver scheme.

Different employer contribution rates can be agreed between you and your employer.

 

Category B Member

  • You can contribute any multiple of 0.5% of your salary with a minimum of 4%. There is no upper limit. Your minimum contributions decrease to 3% if your employer is making compulsory contributions of 3% to your employer locked account.
  • Your employer won’t contribute to your savings unless you join the locked section. If you join the locked section, your employer is required to contribute 3% to your employer locked account unless it is already contributing to a KiwiSaver scheme for you.
  • If you are a permanent employee and choose to join the locked and standard sections, you must direct at least 3% of your salary to your member locked account (in multiples of 0.5%), with the balance (if any) paid to your member standard account.
  • If you are a fixed-term employee or if you choose to join the locked section only, all your contributions and your employer contributions will be paid to your locked accounts.

 

Member contributions are calculated on your before-tax salary but deducted from your after-tax income.

Contribution tax is deducted from employer contributions before being credited to your account.

The contributions set out above only apply to members joining on or after the date of this PDS. Different arrangements may apply to some existing members.

We can only accept member contributions through payroll from your salary or wages. In most cases, you cannot make voluntary contributions from a personal bank account to UniSaver. We may also be able to accept amounts transferred directly to UniSaver from another superannuation scheme (including overseas schemes).

We can change the minimum and other requirements relating to member and voluntary contributions at any time. We will notify you if we make a change that affects you.

You can take a savings suspension for a period of at least 3 months and not more than 1 year. You can take successive savings suspensions. If you stop all contributions to UniSaver, any employer contributions not required to be paid by law will also cease.

Processing contributions

Your contributions are deducted from your salary each pay period. Your contributions and employer contributions are required to be remitted to us by your employer within the month following the month in which the deduction is made.

See the document Other material information [PDF, 156 KB] on the offer register at www.disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz [external link] for more information about contributions (including government contributions).

Withdrawing your investments

The standard and locked sections have different rules about when you can withdraw your money.

In this PDS, ‘standard accounts balance’ means the balance of your member standard account and employer standard account, and ‘locked accounts balance’ means the balance of your member locked account and employer locked account.

Standard section benefits

Benefits

Eligibility requirements

What can you withdraw?

Benefits

Retirement

Eligibility requirements

  • On or after age 60.
  • Any retirement age between 50 and 60 with employer’s consent.
  • At any stage as a result of ill health.

What can you withdraw?

Standard accounts balance less any amount in a locked account that you are not yet eligible to withdraw.

Benefits

Death

Eligibility requirements

What can you withdraw?

Standard accounts balance (including any amount in a locked account), payable to your personal representatives.

Benefits

Leaving service

Eligibility requirements

What can you withdraw?

Standard accounts balance less any amount in a locked account.

If you leave service to take up service with another participating employer in UniSaver, no benefit is payable and your service continues unbroken.

Benefits

First-home withdrawal

Eligibility requirements

  • You have not made a first-home withdrawal from a KiwiSaver scheme previously.
  • You have been a member of UniSaver or one or more KiwiSaver schemes or complying funds for at least 3 years.
  • We consent to the withdrawal.

What can you withdraw?

Amount must not exceed:

  • your standard accounts balance (excluding any amounts in locked accounts), plus
  • your locked accounts balance less any amounts prescribed by the KiwiSaver Act from time to time in respect of the first-home withdrawal benefit available under that Act.

Benefits

Significant financial hardship

Eligibility requirements

We are reasonably satisfied that you are suffering or are likely to suffer from significant financial hardship (as defined in the KiwiSaver Act) and that reasonable alternative sources of funding have been explored and exhausted.

What can you withdraw?

Amount must not exceed:

  • your standard accounts balance (excluding any amounts in locked accounts), plus
  • your locked accounts balance, less the amount of any government contributions (disregarding any investment earnings).

Benefits

Life-shortening congenital condition

Eligibility requirements

  • You were born with a condition that is expected to reduce your life expectancy or the life expectancy of persons in general with your condition below 65.
  • You provide us with satisfactory medical evidence verifying the above.

What can you withdraw?

Amount must not exceed:

  • your standard accounts balance (excluding any amount in locked accounts), plus
  • your locked accounts balance.

Locked section benefits

Benefits

Eligibility requirements

What can you withdraw?

Benefits

Retirement

Eligibility requirements

Payable on the date you would ordinarily qualify for New Zealand Superannuation (currently age 65).*

What can you withdraw?

Your locked accounts balance.

Benefits

Death

Eligibility requirements

What can you withdraw?

Your locked accounts balance, payable to your personal representatives.

Benefits

Serious illness

Eligibility requirements

Injury, illness or disability that result in you being totally and permanently unable to engage in work for which you are suited by reason of experience, education or training or any combination of these things or that poses a serious and imminent risk of death.

What can you withdraw?

Your locked accounts balance.

Benefits

Permanent emigration

Eligibility requirements

What can you withdraw?

A year after you emigrate, you are entitled to your locked accounts balance less the amount of any government contributions (disregarding any investment earnings).

Benefits

First-home withdrawal

Eligibility requirements

See the table above for first-home withdrawal terms.

What can you withdraw?

Amount not exceeding your locked accounts balance less any amounts prescribed by the KiwiSaver Act from time to time.

Benefits

Significant financial hardship

Eligibility requirements

See the table above for significant financial hardship withdrawal terms.

What can you withdraw?

Amount not exceeding your locked accounts balance, less the amount of any government contributions (disregarding any investment earnings).

Benefits

Life-shortening congenital conditions

Eligibility requirements

See the table above for life-shortening congenital condition withdrawal terms.

What can you withdraw?

Amount not exceeding your locked accounts balance. If you make a withdrawal from your locked accounts, you’ll no longer be able to receive any government contributions and your employer may be able to stop its contributions to your locked account.

*Members aged over 60 who transferred to UniSaver from another complying fund they joined before 1 July 2019 may be subject to a longer lock-in unless they opt out.

We may also be required to release some or all of your money under a Court order (for example, as a part of a relationship property settlement).

Transfers

Between participating employers

You will continue to be a member of UniSaver.

Between participating employers

On employment by an overseas university or research facility

You will continue to be a member of UniSaver.

You can request a transfer of your standard accounts balance less any amount in a locked account to an equivalent overseas retirement scheme to which the overseas university or research facility contributes, if the trustee of that scheme consents.

Between participating employers

To another retirement scheme or KiwiSaver scheme

You will continue to be a member of UniSaver.

If you cease to be a member of UniSaver, at your written request and with our consent and that of the trustees of the retirement scheme (as that term is defined in the FMCA) you wish to transfer to, we will pay your benefit to that other scheme. Any locked account balances can only be transferred to another complying fund or KiwiSaver scheme.

Between participating employers

From another retirement scheme

You will continue to be a member of UniSaver.

With our approval, you may transfer a benefit from any retirement scheme into UniSaver (including from all overseas schemes). Any amounts transferred into UniSaver from locked accounts in another complying fund will be credited to your locked accounts as determined by us or as required under the complying fund rules.

Between participating employers

Wind-up of UniSaver

You will continue to be a member of UniSaver.

Your share of UniSaver’s assets will be paid to you or may, with your consent, be transferred to another retirement scheme. Any locked account balances can only be transferred to another complying fund or KiwiSaver scheme.

See the document Other material information [PDF, 156 KB] on the offer register at www.disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz [external link] for more information about withdrawals. See www.unisaver.co.nz or contact us for the required forms. You will need to satisfy legal requirements and our processes before you can make a withdrawal.

Retained membership

If you retire, leave service or are made redundant, with our consent and the consent of your employer, you may elect to leave all or part of your benefit in UniSaver and become a retained member. Any amount not withdrawn from your employer standard account will be transferred to your member standard account.

Different rules apply to retained members regarding restrictions on withdrawals, minimum balances in UniSaver, contributions and deductions from your accounts, and in some instances, different fees apply. See the document Other material information [PDF, 156 KB] on the offer register at www.disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz [external link] for more information.

How to switch between funds

You can switch your investment choice online at any time. The switch will take effect within a few business days. You can also download a form from the website or phone the helpline. The first switch in any calendar year is free of charge. For second and subsequent switches in any calendar year, a $50 fee is charged.