March 2018 - Christian Kiwisaver Scheme
It’s not easy being green!

It’s not easy being green!

The love of money, as it has famously been said, is the root of all evil. Yet money can also do good in the world, and at the very least, it can be used in a way that does not harm. That, at any rate, is the philosophy underpinning the notion of ‘ethical investing’ for Christian KiwiSaver Scheme (formerly Koinonia).

‘Ethical’ investing is currently fashionable amongst funds managers, according to Mark Wilcox, the Scheme manager’s Chief Executive. In 2016, it was revealed in the news that many KiwiSaver funds were invested in activities as dubious as the manufacture of landmines and cluster bombs. Since then there has been a scramble amongst other players in the market to assure their investors that they too are ethical.

Applying high-minded principles to the real world is fraught with hidden complexities and grey areas. It’s not unlike the trouble people have once they have decided to have little or no environmental impact or to be carbon neutral.  Try it and you’ll soon find, in the words of Kermit the Frog, that it’s not easy being green.

Corporations have much the same problem, and that’s why there is often such a difference between the gloss the marketing department puts on and the reality — the so-called ‘greenwash’ effect.

The difference between our Scheme and many of its more mainstream competitors is the Christian values that are at the heart of its investment philosophy. Christian KiwiSaver Scheme has had an ethical investment policy since its inception (as Koinonia). The Church’s mission with regard to working positive change in society as well as preserving and protecting creation continues to set the tone. The Scheme follows the Church’s lead when seeking business operations to invest in and that’s why we do our best to avoid investments in gambling, pornography, and military weapons.

‘Like any other KiwiSaver scheme, the stewardship of its members’ funds is Christian KiwiSaver Scheme’s primary objective’ explains Simon Brodie, the Chief Investment Officer. He and his team of investment managers have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of those who have entrusted them with their money.

Applying an ethical investment policy, therefore, requires judgement. For example, an investment in Boeing might be a good decision in terms of returns.

This US manufacturing giant is a good example of how the two imperatives — the need to generate returns on investment on the one hand, and to be ethical about where money is invested on the other — can pull in opposite directions. Boeing is America’s largest exporter and one of the stocks that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial average. For most investors, it would be a must-have portfolio item, but the Scheme won’t invest in Boeing, the manufacturer of airliners because in doing so it would be investing in Boeing, the manufacturer of cruise missiles.

There is more to taking an ethical stance on investment than merely following the money to see what it’s up to though. How a company governs itself is a factor as well. A current issue that we take interest in is the remuneration of executives in listed companies. The Scheme manager will regularly vote against director motions for executive remuneration.

The interpretation and application of investment ethics is a constantly evolving discipline,” says Mark Wilcox. “The shift in our attitude toward fossil fuel production is a classic example. Society’s attitudes to labour relations have come a long way in recent years. One way we can discharge our ethical policy with integrity is by investing much of our funds directly, rather than via external funds”.

Celebrating a new name

Celebrating a new name

We’re thrilled to announce that our KiwiSaver scheme has a new name, Christian KiwiSaver Scheme.

We’re still the only KiwiSaver scheme specially designed for, and provided by, Christians.

We undertook some brand and name testing during 2017 and you might have been one of the members we surveyed. Among the names proposed there was a clear preference for Christian KiwiSaver Scheme to be the Scheme’s new name.

A change of name is not something we took on lightly. We’ve been offering a KiwiSaver scheme successfully under the Koinonia brand since 2007. However, we were finding that ‘Koinonia’ did not quickly and easily say what our Scheme was all about. Some people also have difficulty pronouncing and spelling Koinonia which was making it harder to find us.

‘Ethical at heart’, our new tagline, is a phrase you will see us use a lot.  That’s because our ethical approach goes well beyond having an ethical investment policy. We apply Christian values to the way we conduct our business and interact with you, our members, and others. It’s the way we’ve always done it.

Our new website address is www.christiankiwisaver.nz and we also have a new email address info@christiankiwisaver.nz. Have a look at the new website. We’ve grouped the information differently and added some interesting new content.

You’ll notice a few tweaks to the Member Login pages. Check these out. If you have forgotten your password contact us and we’ll set a new password for you.

Give us a call on (04) 473 9369 if you’d like to talk about your account or pop into our office at Anglican House, 32 Mulgrave St, Thorndon, Wellington, and talk to one of our knowledgeable staff face to face over a cup of tea.

Christian KiwiSaver Scheme is open to Christians of all denominations. Tell your family, friends and colleagues about us.

Time to reward yourself

Time to reward yourself

Retirement savings may not be in your thoughts at this time but did you know that you may be missing out on free Government money?

Every year the Government offers KiwiSaver members the opportunity to receive a credit of up to $521.43. That annual bonus contribution can really add up over the years and make a meaningful difference to the balance of your nest egg.

There are some conditions – you have to be resident in New Zealand, aged between 18 and 65 and you also have to make personal contributions – to be eligible for these bonus contributions.

There are many reasons why a member might stop making contributions however we don’t think this should be a set and forget decision. By not contributing you are missing out on:

  • bonus Government contributions
  • employer’s contributions (if you are employed); and
  • the opportunity for investment earnings on these amounts.

If you are not currently contributing then take time to consider whether you want to resume regular contributions.

A little bit saved up over a long period can add up to a lot, and the bonus Government contributions may make a real difference to your overall savings.

Not in paid employment

There’s a common misconception going around that you have to be in paid employment to qualify for the Government contributions. You don’t, you just have to make personal contributions.

In paid employment

If you are in paid employment and have stopped contributing (e.g. on a ‘contribution holiday’) then you can restart your contributions by asking your employer to begin making deductions again. Your employer will then be required to begin compulsory employer contributions again.

If you are working and earning more than $34,800 a year then the regular 3% deduction from your pay means you will qualify for the maximum bonus Government contribution.

Contributing less than $1,042 a year

If you are contributing but your personal contributions are less than $1,042 a year then consider making some additional regular or lump sum contributions so that you can qualify for the maximum free Government contribution.

Earning less than $34,800? Then consider making some additional regular or lump sum contributions so that you can qualify for the maximum free Government contribution.

The Government contribution amount is worked out on the personal contributions you make between 1 July and 30 June each year.

Options when you reach 65

Options when you reach 65

If you’ve saved for your retirement, your 65th birthday is a red letter day as you can access your hard earned KiwiSaver savings. However, life doesn’t stop when we reach age 65 and you have options with regards to your KiwiSaver savings. In most cases, it’s hard to predict just how long we will need our savings to continue to work for us. The good news is you don’t have to make a quick decision.

Here are a few ways our current members can manage their KiwiSaver money from age 65.

  • Keeping your account open

Reaching age 65 does not mean members have to close their KiwiSaver scheme account. Many Christian KiwiSaver Scheme members are keeping their accounts open after age 65 and this also allows them the option to add further savings

  • Regular partial withdrawals

Regular withdrawals allow members to top up their retirement income while leaving the remaining balance in the Christian KiwiSaver Scheme working for them. You can arrange regular fortnightly or monthly withdrawal amounts from your Christian KiwiSaver Scheme account.  A $200 minimum applies to each regular withdrawal.  We can change the minimum withdrawal amounts at any time.

  • Other partial withdrawals

Occasional one-off withdrawals are another way to add to your retirement income.  Members can leave their money invested in Christian KiwiSaver Scheme after reaching age 65 and make a withdrawal at times when they need a cash injection. A $1,000 minimum applies to a one-off withdrawal.

  • Full withdrawal

As the name suggests, this is where members take all their savings out of their Christian KiwiSaver Scheme account. This ends their membership of KiwiSaver.

Only you can make the right choices about your KiwiSaver account. But it’s good to know that KiwiSaver doesn’t need to end at 65!