Kiwisaver investors grow anxious - provider urges calm

Source: Radio New Zealand

Steep plunges on global sharemarkets has led to a flurry of calls from anxious investors to the country's biggest KiwiSaver provider.

New Zealand bank notes (file picture).

ANZ Investments said it had taken as many calls in the past week as for the whole of May and calls are 20 per cent up on normal, with inquiries about volatility, falling account values, and whether to switch funds.

ANZ funds management head Fiona Mackenzie said the heightened concerns were understandable but investors needed to keep calm and take a long-term view.

"The queries we are getting are focused around similar themes: market fluctuation, the value of individual investments and whether to switch funds."

"But it is important investors remember that financial markets do go up and down ... history tells us that markets recover - some faster than others, but they do recover," Mackenzie said.

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She said investors needed to remember that KiwiSaver was a long-term retirement investment, although she saw a positive side to the increase in calls..

"I think it's a positive sign that so many customers are reaching out to us. We've had a lot of engagement with people over the past two-and-a-half years that switching during volatility is not a good thing particularly for KiwiSaver, which is a long-term investment, so it's sign that the engagement is working, and Kiwis are maturing as investors."

And Mackenzie said investors should keep up contributions during the current volatility which would allow them to add to their investments at a lower cost.

Meanwhile, the ANZ chief investment officer Paul Huxford said the falls had to be put into perspective and the major US indices were still ahead of where they were before the pandemic hit.

"People remember market sell-offs, but it's even more important to remember that each bear market has been followed by a recovery and new highs over the long-term."

He said ANZ had not changed its long-term investment approach.

"Our team typically focuses on what we believe are high-quality companies with robust balance sheets run by people with strong leadership qualities; companies which, over time, should become more valuable, and therefore help to grow the wealth of our members," Huxford said.