Kernel Wealth review: Invest in NZ and global index funds

Make straightforward investments in index funds on this easy-to-use platform.

Kernel Wealth is an online investment platform with a focus on diversified, low-cost funds covering both New Zealand and global share markets

The platform emphasises passive investments that meet long-term investment goals, yet promotes flexibility. Find out if investing in index funds with Kernel Wealth is right for you.

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What can I invest in with Kernel?

Kernel offers six different index funds. Each is composed of a basket of different assets, letting you invest in different aspects of the New Zealand and the global economy

The available indexes are:

  • NZ 20 Fund. The 20 largest listed companies in New Zealand. These companies represent a diverse range of industries and include household names like a2 Milk.
  • NZ Small & Mid Cap Opportunities Fund. Formerly known as NZ Level 9, this is an index fund of smaller, but still quite large, New Zealand companies with a market capitalisation of between $100 million and $1 billion. While encompassing a diverse range of industries, it leans towards real estate and consumer goods. The fund includes household names including Briscoes and Hallenstein Glasson.
  • NZ Commercial Property Fund. A basket of eight different real estate investment trusts, encompassing over 300 properties across New Zealand including office buildings, industrial estates and shopping malls.
  • Kernel S&P Global Dividend Aristocrats Fund. This fund comprises companies which have had at least stable dividends over the last 10 years. It is a globally diversified fund and covers sectors including utilities, financials, communications and real estate. The fund tracks the S&P Developed Ex-Korea Dividend Aristocrats Quality Income Index.
  • Kernel S&P Global 100 Fund. This fund provides exposure to blue-chip companies such as Apple, Amazon and Nestle that have a substantial presence across the world. Correspondingly, the fund can be more resilient to disruption in domestic markets.
  • Kernel Global Infrastructure Fund. The Kernel Global Infrastructure index fund provides exposure to companies for which infrastructure makes up at least 70% of their cash flow. The fund comprises 106 companies across 20 countries.

You can mix and match these to create a combined portfolio, as well as set up automatic investments into your chosen balance of portfolios.

How much does it cost?

Kernel Wealth has two types of fees:

Member fee
  • There are no member fees for portfolios with a value of $1,000 or less.
  • $3 per month for portfolios with a value of greater than $1,000.
Investment fee
  • 0.25%-0.55% per year for portfolios with a value between $1 and $24,999.
  • 0.15%-0.45% per year for portfolios with a value $25,000 and above.

Kernel does not charge fees for transactions.

Is Kernel safe?

Kernel Wealth manages your funds under the supervision of Trustees Executors Limited, New Zealand’s oldest trustee company. Assets are custodied by Adminis NZ Limited, a Wellington-based finance company. When you use Kernel your assets are protected by New Zealand law.

All investments still carry some risk though, and between Kernel’s six funds it is not possible to diversify investments to the same extent as is possible on other online share trading platforms.

What customer support options are available?

Kernel Wealth offers a help centre where you can search for frequently asked questions, or you can contact the team by submitting messages through the website, email or over the phone.

How do I sign up to Kernel?

Kernel is available to people in New Zealand aged 18 and older.

To get started, you can sign up for an account on the website. This involves entering and verifying your email address and choosing a password. You will then have to provide some identification and personal information.

From there, you can make deposits into your Kernel wallet to purchase units of the desired index fund, as well as set up auto-invest on your account to automatically make weekly, fortnightly or monthly purchases of your desired fund.

Frequently asked questions

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Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of stocks, ETFs or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Stocks and ETFs trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.
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