A Transparent Approach by Christian KiwiSaver Scheme

A Transparent Approach by Christian KiwiSaver Scheme

In today’s world, ethical considerations have become increasingly important for investors, and Christian KiwiSaver Scheme stands out as a beacon of transparency and integrity. Our organisation prioritises ethical investment practices and is committed to aligning its investments with its principles. Recently, Mindful Money identified Christian KiwiSaver Scheme‘s portfolio, as having concerns regarding investments in fossil fuels, weapons, and human rights violations. Christian KiwiSaver Scheme does not shy away from the discussion but instead seizes the opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to ethical investment and transparency. 

We appreciate the Mindful Money website as a resourceful platform. However, our investment choices are not solely based on their standard for ethical investment. We rely on our in-house expertise and advice from an international corporate governance specialist to make well-informed decisions. As a Christian organization, we prioritise investing in companies that are committed to transitioning to better practices. We firmly believe in a long-term, sustainable approach to transitioning to more ethical and sustainable future.

Christian KiwiSaver Scheme‘s approach is based on dedication to ethical principles. Our organisation regularly monitors its holdings and welcomes feedback from third-party organizations such as Mindful Money to ensure that its investments reflect its values. When ethical concerns are raised, each flagged company is subject to a thorough review, taking into account factors such as environmental impact, social responsibility, and corporate governance. 

Transparency is paramount for Christian KiwiSaver Scheme, and it openly discusses and justifies its investment choices. Whether it decides to divest from problematic stocks or retains them with a plan for improvement, we ensure that our members are fully informed. You can read our full list of investment holdings here, and our Ethical Investment Policy here. By providing clarity on the rationale behind investment decisions, Christian KiwiSaver Scheme empowers members to make ethical choices that align with their values. 

While ethical investment can be complicated, Christian KiwiSaver Scheme serves as a reliable guide and partner for its members. We navigate the complexities of the investment landscape with integrity and transparency, communicating openly, conducting thorough research, and remaining steadfast in its dedication to ethical principles. As a result, Christian KiwiSaver Scheme fosters trust and confidence among its members and contributes to a more ethical and sustainable future.

Investment Returns at 30 June 2022

Investment Returns at 31 December 2023

Investment returns (before tax and fees) for the quarter ending 31 December 2023 are:

Fund 3 months 1 Year (p.a.) 3 years (p.a.) 5 years (p.a.) 10 years (p.a.)
Growth Fund 5.4% 13.5% 7.7% 9.6% 8.5%
Balanced Fund 4.9% 11.3% 5.2% 7.1% 6.8%
Income Fund 3.7% 6.1% 0.4% 2.0% 2.9%

All funds have performed remarkably well in the quarter that ended on December 31, 2023. This is due to the increasingly positive perception with regards to the interest rate outlook, which investors believe may have peaked and are on their way down. This perception has led the share and bond markets to respond positively, with inflation appearing to have been beaten or falling rapidly. Investors also hope for an economic soft landing, where growth slows but avoids a recession and unemployment remains low.

However, it is important to note the make up of the reported inflation declines. While international inflation saw a decline, domestic inflation saw a lesser decline. This puts central banks in a challenging position, where they must choose between cutting interest rates early and risking
re-igniting inflation or delaying cuts and risking a growth slowdown (or recession). Moreover, central banks had recently announced that interest rates would remain at these current higher levels for longer.

We do not believe that there is potential to cut interest rates sooner than expected. We acknowledge the risks to company earnings due to increased costs. In particular, the high share prices of some stocks pose a risk of a fall in all share prices. 

Several factors influence market performance, and actual performances are rarely achieved in a straight line. Therefore, we recognise that there can be many bumps within a performance period, such as geo-political events like the ongoing Russia and Ukraine conflict, Israel and Gaza conflict, and the Red Sea crisis. Ongoing tensions between China and the USA can also impact the market, and further disturbances are expected, such as the upcoming USA elections and the development of the China and Taiwan relationship.

Given this environment, we believe it is essential to remain cautious of asset prices. We continue to hold higher-than-normal amounts in cash and remain cautiously invested and diversified. However, we also recognise that there are several opportunities to be explored, and we are actively seeking new investment avenues to ensure that our clients’ portfolios continue to grow and perform well in the long run.


Investment Returns at 30 June 2023

Investment Returns at 30 June 2023

Investment returns (before tax and fees)* for the quarter ending 30 June 2023 are:

Fund 3 months 1 Year (p.a.) 3 years (p.a.) 5 years (p.a.) 10 years (p.a.)
Growth Fund 3.9% 11.4% 9.0% 8.5% 8.5%
Balanced Fund 2.9% 8.3% 5.8% 6.1% 6.8%
Income Fund 0.7% 2.3% 0.0% 1.5% 2.6%

* rounded to one decimal place.


Economic growth has been somewhat sturdy as we report on another positive quarter. In our mind, there are two key questions in the market at this point.


Will interest rates rise further from here?

Reductions in energy prices (e.g. oil), easing supply constraints, and reduced spending on goods have all contributed to a reduction in headline inflation. There are some lingering concerns around the pricing of certain services such as costs of travel, hospitality, wages, and food. However, central bankers around the world have managed to, for the most part, cool inflation in a red-hot economy.


Are share prices today correct in anticipating a rosy future?

Share and bond markets have very differing views today about future outcomes. Share investors are optimistic, feeling the worst has passed and better times are ahead. However, bond investors are cautious because of their concerns about inflation.  


Share investors feel optimistic largely because share prices have increased significantly in the past year. For the year ended 30 June 2023, the prices were up for indices such as the USA Dow Jones (12% price increase), S&P 500 (18% price increase) and NASDAQ (25% price increase). There has also been the belief that the gains from artificial intelligence (AI) may be significant, especially for some technology companies.


At the same time, share investors may feel that the market is currently experiencing some form of stability. The VIX, an index that measures the expected volatility in share prices, is reporting that the stock market expects to be half as volatile compared to what it reported in October last year.


Bond investors remain cautious, given that interest rates have risen strongly in the past year. There is still considerable uncertainty about whether central banks will raise rates further. Whilst headline inflation (the rate reported by the Consumer Price Index) has reduced, domestic inflation (which mainly considers housing, transport, medical, electronics prices etc. and does not include food and energy prices) remains stubbornly high and of concern to central banks.


While we are reporting on another positive quarter, there is a sense that investors are not all in agreement in their feelings about the market at this point in time because there are plenty of reasons to be both optimistic and cautious.


We think interest rates could rise further, and shares come under pressure at these levels. We remain cautiously invested, diversified and continue to hold higher-than-normal amounts in cash.

Care and compassion in action: Christian KiwiSaver Scheme partners with Debtfix

Care and compassion in action: Christian KiwiSaver Scheme partners with Debtfix

In a significant step towards supporting the financial well-being of our members, Christian KiwiSaver Scheme is proud to announce its partnership with Debtfix – an organisation dedicated to reducing debt here in New Zealand.


Debtfix offers managed processes that fix debt and help people control their finances. Our partnership with Debtfix aims to provide our members with valuable resources and, more importantly, allows us to enact our value of care and compassion to those in need.


Debt and budgeting issues have become increasingly prevalent in today’s fast-paced and uncertain economic landscape. Many New Zealanders struggle with mounting debts, loans, and general difficulty in budgeting.


Such financial challenges can have a profound impact on the ability to save for retirement and achieve other long-term financial goals. Recognising these challenges, we have sought to partner with Debtfix to help some of our members who may be experiencing these challenges.

Key Benefits of the Partnership

1. Debt Management Expertise:
Debtfix brings experience and expertise in managing debt which includes working with creditors, banks, finance companies, courts and anyone else on your behalf. You won’t have to worry about dealing with several organisations. Through this collaboration with Debtfix, Christian KiwiSaver Scheme members can access personalised debt support and strategies to reduce their financial burdens.

2. Budgeting:
An essential aspect of achieving financial stability is budgeting. Even if you are not in debt, having a simple budget can help you understand where your money is going – which can help you create and achieve your financial goals. Debtfix offers a budgeting service tailored to each individual’s unique financial situation, helping them better manage their income, expenses, and savings.

3. KiwiSaver Significant Financial Hardship Facilitator:
In this partnership, Debtfix allows us to achieve better outcomes for members who have to make a KiwiSaver withdrawal due to Significant Financial Hardship. Not only will Debtfix help facilitate the withdrawal process, but they will also be able to provide more comprehensive support with their debt and finance expertise for those members experiencing significant financial hardship.

4. Proven experience with real people:
Talking about finances with another person can be a really sensitive and difficult conversation – let alone talking about debt. Debtfix has experience working with people experiencing debt, and they also have some great stories of helping people through their financial challenges and burdens. To have a look at what some of their clients have said about them, take a look at their website: https://www.debtfix.co.nz/what-our-clients-say


This collaboration between Christian KiwiSaver Scheme and Debtfix is an exciting opportunity for us to help our members and put our values into action. We hope this partnership enables our members to take control of their finances, overcome debt challenges, and maximise the potential of their KiwiSaver investments.


Debtfix’s services are absolutely free for Christian KiwiSaver Scheme members. If you are interested in using their service or if you would like to make an inquiry, please email us at info@christiankiwisaver.nz


If you would like more information about Debtfix, please visit their website https://www.debtfix.co.nz/

Get your free retirement planning guide

Get your free retirement planning guide

Have you started thinking about your retirement plan? If you are reading this, congratulations! You might be taking your first small steps to consider what retirement might look like. No matter how far away retirement may feel, getting started is always a good idea, no matter how small the step.


The Financial Services Council (FSC) has recently published its Retirement Planning Guide, a comprehensive resource to help you navigate the path towards a secure retirement. Whether you are just starting your career or nearing retirement age, this guide offers valuable insights and tools to plan your retirement effectively.


The FSC is a non-profit member organisation with a vision to grow the financial confidence and wellbeing of New Zealanders.


While retirement is a significant milestone, it may feel like there is time to put off planning for it until later. Retirement requires careful planning; the earlier you plan for it, the more time you allow yourself to reach your goals. Good retirement planning may mean helping you achieve the lifestyle you want to live without exhausting your savings.


This guide helps you think about retirement planning by outlining two critical considerations: how much to save for retirement and how much you can reasonably spend during your retirement years. It then explains key concepts and provides valuable tools for this planning process.


To view and download the FSC’s Retirement Planning Guide click here.


Please note:

This Retirement Planning Guide is general information only. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the FSC. It is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and does not take your individual circumstances and financial situation into account. We encourage you to seek assistance from a trusted financial adviser, legal or other professional advice.


The names of any third parties are additional resources that you access at your own risk and the FSC takes no responsibility for any third party content.


The FSC and its employees make no express or implied representations or give any warranties regarding this guide, and we accept no responsibility for any loss, damage, cost or expense (whether direct or indirect) incurred by you as a result of any error, omission or misrepresentation in this guide.

Investment Returns at 30 June 2023

Investment Returns at 31 March 2023

Investment returns (before tax and fees)* for the quarter ending 31 March 2023 are:

Fund 3 months 1 Year (p.a.) 3 years (p.a.) 5 years (p.a.) 10 years (p.a.)
Growth Fund 4.3% 1.9% 10.3% 8.5% 8.3%
Balanced Fund 3.6% 0.7% 6.9% 6.1% 6.6%
Income Fund 1.9% -1.0% 0.5% 1.4% 2.6%

This latest quarter saw better returns than last year when interest rates rose (both bond and shares prices fell). The first quarter of this year began with positive sentiment on the growth outlook as energy costs fell and China’s economy reopened.

Due to swift action by the regulatory authorities, the global banking sector now appears less of a concern. However, those actions may result in slower credit creation, which could lead to slower growth (e.g. tighter lending standards as banks become more cautious).

The banking concerns in March dwarfed concerns around inflation. As markets reacted to fears of a banking crisis, government bond markets went from pricing in rate hikes (i.e. falling bond prices) to pricing in rate falls later this year (i.e. where bond prices rise).

Global equities also gained in the quarter, buoyed by declining recession worries in developed markets.

Locally the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) surprised the market in February 2023 with a 50 basis points increase in the Official Cash Rate (OCR), thereby lifting the OCR to 5.25%. The concern is that the domestic economy may already be slowing. The RBNZ is expected to increase the OCR by another 25 basis points (to 5.50%) in May 2023. The market’s attention could then increasingly focus on the timing and extent of the next easing cycle.

Despite the banking sector concerns, Central Banks continued to fight inflation with tighter monetary policy (via official cash rate increases).

While there were signs that hiking cycles were already biting (particularly in housing markets), we think the full spill-over effects to the broader economy are yet to come.

In our view, the inflation outlook is mixed. Whilst inflation appears to be reducing (largely on the back of lower oil prices), we remain concerned that demand still appears to be strong, for example, food and rental prices. Wage growth in this tight labour market is also keenly observed.

In April 2023, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the recent turmoil in global banking systems would slow global economic growth. In their latest Global Financial Stability Report, the IMF said the financial markets remain fragile and stressed. Whether the measures taken so far have been sufficient to fully restore confidence in markets and institutions remains to be seen. The IMF expects global economies will grow 2.8% in 2023 and 3% in 2024. Each of these forecasts has been revised down by 0.1% since January. In 2022 global economies grew by 3.4%. IMF expects global inflation of 7% in 2023, slightly down from the 8.7% achieved in 2022. Growth predicted by the IMF is the lowest in 20 years.

We remain cautious about the outlook because the rapid increase in interest rates will have a long and variable lag effect on the economy. Higher rates are still to impact the real economy fully. In addition, any tightening of credit standards (reduced lending) and increased capital costs for banks will weigh on the economy. We see risks to both bond prices (interest rates) and earnings growth (share prices).

In this environment, we remain cautiously invested and diversified and continue to hold higher-than-normal amounts in cash.