The Staples Rodway KiwiSaver scheme will officially close its doors at the end of March after earning regulatory approval for a bulk transfer to the SBS-owned Lifestages.
Graham Duston, head of SBS wealth management subsidiary Funds Administration NZ (FANZ), said the group expected more than 90 per cent of the approximately 3,300 Staples Rodway scheme members would make the transition – in line with previous KiwiSaver bulk transfer experiences.
“After the transfer, Lifestages will have more than 15,000 members, meaning we can pass on some benefits of scale,” Duston said.
As at March last year, Lifestages reported about $130 million in funds under management and just under 11,800 members compared to almost $50 million and 3,285 members for the Staples Rodway scheme.
Following the transfer, Staples Rodway members would see the monthly admin fee reduce from $3.44 to $2, Duston said.
FANZ took over management of the Staples Rodway scheme last March, with an eventual Lifestages merger tipped at the time.
In the intervening months, Lifestages rejigged its investment offerings, closing the growth fund while launching two new funds: the high growth fund; and, the income fund. The SBS-owned scheme also retained the capital stable fund.
In a letter sent to Staples Rodway scheme members last week, Duston, said Lifestages created the two new funds “to ensure continuity in the management” of their investments post transfer.
Staples Rodway members would shift into “whichever mix” of the two new Lifestages funds “best approximates your existing investment fund choice”, an accompanying merger document says.
Alternatively, Staples Rodway members signed up for the “age group” option would transfer to the Lifestages Auto product, which automatically re-balances the growth/income split based on age.
Duston said Lifestage’s recently revamped registry system – run by scheme administrator, Trustees Executors – enabled members to set their own asset allocation, which rebalances annually or on request.
He said the ability to offer flexible investment choice would become more important as KiwiSaver balances increased.
Like the recently-closed NZX Smartkiwi scheme, the Staples Rodway KiwiSaver product is administered by Aon, which is in the process of transferring its dwindling super admin roster to Link Market Services.
However, unlike Smartkiwi – technically still open pending the fate of 12 members with balances transferred via the UK Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pensions Schemes regime – the Staples Rodway scheme would be fully wound up come the end of March, Duston said.
“Staples Rodway was never QROPS registered so no members held UK-transferred pensions,” he said. “That saved a big headache.”