17 Apr 2019

Low satisfaction rates for big-three KiwiSaver providers

3:04 pm on 17 April 2019

Three of the biggest KiwiSaver providers now have some of the lowest customer satisfaction rates.

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Consumer NZ said it had been a bumpy 12 months for the funds because of sharemarket instability, but that was not the only reason for the drop. Photo: 123RF

A new survey by Consumer NZ said ASB, AMP and ANZ all had a drop in their ratings.

Satisfaction scores:

  • Milford: 66 percent (Milford is Consumer NZ's People's Choice winner in this year's survey)
  • Westpac: 66 percent
  • SuperLife: 60 percent
  • BNZ: 57 percent
  • Fisher Funds: 57 percent
  • Booster: 55 percent
  • Kiwi Wealth: 51 percent
  • Generate: 49 percent
  • Fisher Funds Two: 44 percent
  • ANZ: 41 percent
  • AMP: 37 percent
  • ASB: 36 percent
  • Mercer: 34 percent

Only 36 percent of ASB customers were satisfied with the service, while AMP and ANZ also scored low at 37 and 41 percent.

Chief executive Sue Chetwin told Morning Report part of the reason for the lower satisfaction scores was market volatility, but there was also some apathy around KiwiSaver.

"The problem with the whole market is that there is quite a low satisfaction already - you know, last year it was at 52 percent which isn't that good and now it's at 48 percent, even lower."

She said the quality of information about the KiwiSaver funds also played an important part in pleasing customers.

Ms Chetwin said big banks in particular are default providers for KiwiSaver and get a lot of customers without a lot of effort.

"Some of it is apathy, most people will go into a default fund and then make a choice but we found the satisfaction scores for three of the biggest providers who are the default providers - AMP, ANZ and ASB - were significantly below the industry average.

"There's a bit of 'set and forget' and I also think some of the banks and some of the bigger players quite like that.

"They are not looking after those customers as well as they could. I think it's too easy for they to get them [so] they are just there in a way," she said.

"They don't treat those customers as if they are customers they could lose."

"What we say about that is that this is your nest egg that you're thinking about so it doesn't take too much effort to look at the players that are out there and maybe do something better for yourself."

However, she said it was quite difficult for people to make comparisons between different providers, with 46 percent of respondents unaware that they could make comparisons, or who found doing so difficult.

Keeping clients informed about what was happening with their fund and on their options were sticking points.

Six out of 10 consumers wanted to know whether their money was being invested ethically, the survey found.

"It was difficult if you wanted to find a fund ... that was investing ethically or investing in a sort of green way, that was even harder," Ms Chetwin said.

"You can find out about the ... you know, gambling, pornography and weapons, but if you want to find out any further it's actually very difficult."

ANZ said that it had stepped up communication with investors to make sure they had better information on how their money was invested, the fees they're paying and how their fund was performing.

"The feedback on our work has been positive, but clearly we still have some work to do," it said in a statement.

It was also encouraging to see that consumers were interested in responsible investment which was something it took seriously, it said.

More than 2000 New Zealanders responded to the survey that was carried out in February this year.

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