16 June 2021

KiwiSaver switching research

In June 2021, the FMA published a review of KiwiSaver member behaviour in response to COVID-19.

The research focused on the increased switching behaviour observed during the period of heightened market volatility in Feb-April 2020. Key results included:

  • 58,356 of the sample 1.5 million KiwiSaver members made 88,112 switches, meaning some made multiple switches. These switching members represented 3.9% of the total sample - 2.7 times higher than the same group in 2019.
  • March 2020 was the peak switching month, with seven times the 2019 average monthly volume
  • On 22 March 2020 there were 6,156 switches – the equivalent of around 20 days’ worth of switches in 2019
  • 5% of switches were to lower risk funds, 11% to equivalent risk funds and 18.5% to higher risk funds
  • Members aged 26 to 35 were disproportionately more likely to switch to lower risk funds
  • Banks saw a disproportionate increase in switching compared to other KiwiSaver providers

The report also showed that first home loan withdrawals and financial hardship withdrawals increased during the period. However first home withdrawal numbers were low in comparison with switch numbers so the report concludes this was not the primary reason for younger people switching to a lower risk fund.

The report was completed by PwC. The FMA also developed a short report of user stories of KiwiSaver members who switched during COVID-19.

Download Lockdown: A review of KiwiSaver member behaviour in response to COVID-19 PDF

Download KiwiSaver Switching Behaviour: KiwiSaver Member Stories PDF