Both AMP and the NZX-owned Smartshares KiwiSaver schemes slipped backwards in the first quarter of 2018, according to the latest data from Australian research house, Strategic Insight (SI).
In a tough three-month stretch for most KiwiSaver providers, AMP and Smartshares saw respective funds under management (FUM) drop by 0.5 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively, compared to end of December last year.
The AMP scheme closed out the period $27 million lighter with total FUM of $5.057 billion while Smartshares shed $7 million to end with $742 million in the kitty.
Overall flaccid investment returns during the March quarter cut average growth in the KiwiSaver sector to just 1.4 per cent, down from almost 6 per cent in the three months to December 31 last year.
The SI data shows KiwiSaver investment returns were in the red to the tune of -$600 million over the first three months of 2018 compared to a $1.5 billion boost during the previous quarter.
However, net inflows held steady over both periods at about $1.2 billion and $1.1 billion during the March and December quarters, respectively.
And against the generally flat backdrop a handful of KiwiSaver schemes continued to churn out above-average growth in 2018, led by Generate (8.3 per cent), BNZ (6.2 per cent) and Milford (4.9 per cent).
At current growth-rates the $711 million Generate is poised to overtake Smartshares as the 11th largest KiwiSaver provider while BNZ (almost $1.65 billion) is closing in on seventh-placed Mercer ($1.8 billion) as it races to join the top-of-the-table bank ranks.
With the exception of ANZ (0.7 per cent) the remaining bank-owned KiwiSaver schemes recorded quarterly growth close to the sector average of 1.4 per cent.
Total KiwiSaver FUM was up about $700 million for the quarter to $48.5 billion.
According to the latest Inland Revenue Department (IRD) statistics, KiwiSaver member numbers grew by almost 4.2 per cent over the 12 months to the end of April this year. Of the more than 2.8 million KiwiSaver members almost 73 per cent have made an active choice of scheme, the IRD figures show.
Somewhat against trend, the number of members on contribution holidays dropped slightly over April (down almost 150) but the 134,687 vacationing KiwiSavers still represent a year-on-year increase of close to 3.4 per cent.
Other KiwiSaver member trends remained on par including the ongoing decline of the under-18 cohort (down 5 per cent for the year to 322,747).
Meanwhile, monthly member scheme transfer figures dipped to 11,777 in April compared to almost 14,300 the previous month. Over the 12 months to April 30 this year scheme transfer numbers ranged from 9,190 in December to 17,440 in May 2017.
First home withdrawals hit about $66.7 million in April – roughly half the $124 million high set in March 2017 but still above the monthly median for the annual period.