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Summer KiwiSaver review

Summer's My Plan option allows you to create a diversified KiwiSaver portfolio that suits your needs.

Despite being a small scheme, Summer offers a wide number of KiwiSaver funds for you to choose from, plus it has features including allowing investors to create their own portfolio from a combination of funds. It is also one of the few schemes that offers a fund that focuses on investing in New Zealand companies.

Keep reading to find about the features of the different Summer KiwiSaver funds, the fees involved and how you can sign up.

About Summer KiwiSaver

The Summer KiwiSaver plan is offered by Forsyth Barr, a New Zealand-owned and operated financial investment advisory which brings more than 80 years of experience to the table. Summer actively manages its KiwiSaver funds and has a team of experienced fund managers which capitalise on market opportunities to net its members higher returns.

All Summer funds are tailored to meet ESG standards, ensuring that your money will not be used to fund businesses operating in industries like firearms, nuclear explosives, whaling and tobacco. Summer brands itself as a KiwiSaver scheme provider that enables its clients to “make the most of their investment opportunity”.

Summer KiwiSaver funds

Summer offers 10 KiwiSaver funds to choose from with a My Plan option that allows you to create your own customised portfolio to suit your needs. Alternatively, you can opt for a manager to choose the fund mix by investing in either the Summer Conservative, Balanced, or Growth Selection Funds.

All funds are actively managed within their asset allocations, which means that the fund managers can take advantage of any market opportunities or reduce risk as they see fit.

Here’s a breakdown of the Summer KiwiSaver funds available and their general compositions:

  • New Zealand Cash Fund. With approximately 75% of the portfolio allocated to cash equivalents and the remainder to short-term fixed interest assets, this fund is great for older or risk-averse investors who wish to minimise their investment volatility. In return, investors will net minimal returns.
  • New Zealand Fixed Interest Fund. Compared to the Cash Fund, the Fixed Interest fund offers slightly improved returns for an equivalent amount of risk. First-time investors who are risk-averse but desire moderate returns will benefit from an investment in this fund.
  • Global Fixed Interest Fund. The Global Fixed Interest fund also mainly invests in fixed interest assets, with one key difference: geographical fund distribution. Regardless, you can expect similar returns and volatility to the New Zealand Fixed Interest fund.
  • New Zealand Equities Fund. Targeted towards investors who are comfortable with moderately higher volatility, this fund aims to achieve “positive long-term returns” with more than 80% of the fund invested in selected New Zealand shares. The remainder of the fund is allocated to cash equivalents and listed properties.
  • Australian Equities Fund. With higher returns, the Australian Equities fund is intended for experienced investors who are comfortable with significant fluctuations in value. Compared to its New Zealand equivalent, the Australian Equities fund carries a slightly higher level of investment risk.
  • Listed Property Fund. With a similar risk level to the New Zealand Equities fund, the Listed Property fund mainly invests in selected property vehicles around the world. Like the other three equity funds in this list, this fund should only be considered by investors who are comfortable with extensive volatility.
  • Global Equities Fund. If you want exposure to global trillion-dollar companies like Amazon and Apple, the Global Equities fund could be the right choice for you. Roughly 90% of this fund is invested in global equities. With a similar risk profile to the other equities funds, the Global Equities fund is aimed to net moderate to high returns over a timeframe of at least five years.
  • Conservative Selection. Mainly invested in cash equivalents, the Conservative fund offers limited returns. However, unlike the other fixed-interest funds, this fund benefits from the additional cross-asset distribution that reduces volatility.
  • Balanced Selection Fund. The Balanced Selection offers a happy medium between the Conservative and Growth Selection funds. The fund is split between short-term interest assets and equities, with half of the fund’s capital allocated to each.
  • Growth Selection Fund. Despite three-quarters of the fund being allocated to shares, this fund only carries moderate risk, due to the active fund management and diversified asset exposure. This fund is geared towards moderate to high returns in the long run.

What are the fees?

Summer does not charge any performance fees, even though the funds are actively managed. However, you will pay a standard account fee of $36 ($3 per month) for being a Summer KiwiSaver scheme member, as well as an annual fund charge.

This annual fund charge can range from 0.5% to 0.9% depending on the complexity and the risk of the assets you’re invested in. Additionally, you won’t be charged for amending your portfolio composition at any time.

To get an accurate estimate of your portfolio’s fees, get in touch with a Summer fund advisor for more details.

What other products does Summer offer?

Summer is an investment subsidiary that only offers KiwiSaver schemes. However, Summer’s parent firm, Forsyth Barr, offers a suite of investment products that you can consider.

Investment funds

Whether you want a platform to manually sell and buy shares, or you’d prefer someone to fully manage your portfolio, Forsyth Barr can support your investment activities.

Here are a few examples of the investment services they offer:

  • Private Portfolio Management Service. Once you’ve set out your investment aims and asset parameters, Forsyth Barr will take care of everything else.
  • Premium Advisory Service. Get personalised advice on how to adapt your portfolio to changing market conditions, along with day-to-day administrative support.
  • Investment Advisory Service. If you want to exercise more control over your investments, but would like recommendations and advice, Forsyth Barr offers this personalised option.
  • Buy and Sell. This service allows you to hand off the process of transacting securities, giving you the freedom to worry solely about the type and timing of investments.

How do I sign up with Summer KiwiSaver?

To join Summer, simply sign up via their website. Under the tab labelled “The Summer Scheme”, look for the page titled “Transfer or Join”. Click on the button on the right corner of the website to speak to an investment advisor, who will then help you sign up for the Summer scheme.

Alternatively, you can call Summer at 0800 11 55 66 or email info@summer.co.nz to begin the signup process.

Eligibility criteria

Before signing up, make sure that you meet Summer’s eligibility requirements. In general, you will need to be:

  • A New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • Living in New Zealand

Required documents

You’ll need to provide your IRD number and a passport or driver’s licence to sign up. Summer will take care of the rest.

Our verdict

If you’re looking for a KiwiSaver scheme that invests responsibly, offers active fund management and the flexibility to create your own portfolio, Summer might be the provider for you. Summer’s growth-focused funds are considered to offer good long term potential, as well as a competitive annual fee.

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