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Pathfinder KiwiSaver review

A KiwiSaver scheme with a focus on ethical investing.

Pathfinder is a KiwiSaver provider that enables its clients to invest their savings into a variety of plans for better returns. Compared to other KiwiSaver providers, Pathfinder has a focus on rating all companies it invests in against environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics with the aim of building a more sustainable future.

Pathfinder also mandates that 20% of its management fees go to a charity of the scheme holder’s choice.

About Pathfinder

Pathfinder (formerly CareSaver) is an ethical KiwiSaver scheme with a strong commitment to financial investments that support social good. The Pathfinder scheme itself is managed by Pathfinder Asset Management, which has nearly a decade’s worth of experience in ethical investments.

What is ethical investing?

Ethical investing involves investing in companies that follow best ESG practices. Pathfinder believes that investing in companies that act ethically ultimately means a better outcome for everyone.

As part of their ethical investment policy, Pathfinder actively avoids companies that harm the environment — such as those involved with tobacco, animal testing, factory farming, fossil fuels and gambling. By investing instead in corporations that contribute to a more sustainable future, Pathfinder believes that they can generate better long-term returns, influence corporate behaviour and promote positive change.

Pathfinder KiwiSaver fund types and performance

Name Product Past Performance - 6 Months Past Performance - 1 Year Past Performance - 2 Years Past Performance - 3 Years Past Performance - 5 Years Calculated fees on $50,000 balance
Pathfinder KiwiSaver - Growth Fund
Performance is up to 31 December 2021. Rates are after fees and before tax.
Pathfinder KiwiSaver - Balanced Fund
Performance is up to 31 December 2021. Rates are after fees and before tax.
Pathfinder KiwiSaver - Conservative Fund
Performance is up to 31 December 2021. Rates are after fees and before tax.

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Pathfinder offers 3 different KiwiSaver investment options with different levels of risk.
  • Growth Fund: The Growth Fund offers medium-to-high returns by taking on a higher risk focus. An investment time frame of more than 10 years is suggested. It has a higher than usual exposure (80%) to growth assets like stocks and a 20% exposure to income assets. As of April 2021, this fund has had returns of 18.69% since inception (July 2019).
  • Balanced Fund: For medium returns and risk, the Balanced Fund may be best for investors with a time frame of 5+ years. It has a 60/40 allocation to higher-return growth assets and lower-risk income assets respectively. As of April 2021, this fund has resulted in returns of 11.60% since inception (July 2019).
  • Conservative Fund: The Conservative Fund is designed for investors with a short-to-medium time frame of up to 3+ years, who are comfortable with attaining modest returns for limited risk. This Pathfinder fund primarily invests in stable income assets with an 80/20 allocation, where just 20% of the fund is invested in higher-risk growth assets. As of April 2021, the Conservative Fund has produced returns of 5.74% since inception (July 2019).

Since all three funds were initiated in July 2019, you should take fund performance with a pinch of salt as the limited time frame might not accurately indicate the true potential of the fund. Similarly, past performance is neither representative nor a guarantee of future returns.

Pathfinder KiwiSaver fees

Pathfinder charges a few types of fees that you should be mindful of. Here’s what you may expect to be charged if you join Pathfinder:

  • Total annual fund charges. Riskier funds incur greater annual management and administration fees. Annual management and administration fees are as follows:
    • Growth Fund – 1.29%
    • Balanced Fund – 1.14%
    • Conservative Fund – 0.84%
  • Annual administration fees. This stands at $27 per year . The administration fee is charged for any costs and expenses associated with the administration and registry costs. If your fund balance is lower than $1,000, or you are a minor, however, you will not be charged this fee. Minors also don’t get charged this fee.

Do take note that Pathfinder fund fees may differ across account types and the amount you have invested in your KiwiSaver. Always check beforehand to get an accurate gauge of how much you can expect to pay for your Pathfinder KiwiSaver fund.

How do I join Pathfinder?

The application process for Pathfinder is simple and can be done completely online as long as you meet the eligibility criteria and have the necessary documents at hand. The entire application should only take a few minutes, and you do not have to contact your current KiwiSaver provider if you are switching to Pathfinder.

Eligibility criteria

In order to qualify for the Pathfinder scheme, you must be:

  • A permanent resident or citizen of New Zealand

People of any age can join the Pathfinder KiwiSaver Scheme. However, those aged 18 or under must have an application signed by their parent or guardian.

Documents required

You will need to have your IRD number and either an NZ driver licence or NZ passport.


Pathfinder offers three KiwiSaver funds to suit different investment preferences. What’s more, each of these funds allows you to grow your wealth in a sustainable, responsible manner. Pick the fund that best meets your financial needs and sign up easily online.

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