ETF and Index Fund are simple, low-cost and diversified investment option with a positive result in the long term. It plays an important part in my plan to achieve financial freedom by only do a few smart things and nothing much else. To put my money where my mouth is, over 90% of my investment is in ETF and Index Fund. I believe everyone should have at least some investment in those products. SmartShares, SuperLife, Simplicity, and InvestNow are the four investment services in New Zealand that I am currently using. Here is a breakdown of them.
(updated Oct 2017)
New Zealand Stock Exchange owns SmartShares. They issue the ETF for local share markets such as NZ Top 50 (FNZ), NZ Top 10 (TNZ), NZ MID CAP (MDZ) and NZ Bond (NZB). They also repackage ETFs and index funds from overseas to sell to New Zealand investor. Those ETFs cover Austraila, Europe, Asia Pacific, US, emerging markets and world markets. You can check out the list of offering here. The most popular overseas ETF is US 500. It tracks the top 500 companies on US stock example, most of them are top international corporations.
Some people have mistaken SmartShares as an investment service provider but in fact, SmartShares is an ETF issuer. Their job is to manage and issue ETF for New Zealand stock exchange. That’s why investor can’t log onto SmartShares site for track their holding because they are not managing the holding for you (hence there is no annual admin fee).
If you invested in their ETF, you are basically buying a share on the share market. You can but those ETF directly on share market if you wish. SmartShares will direct investor to Link Market Service to register and track their ETF holdings. An investor can track their holding on other services like ASB securities, ANZ Securities or Share Sight.
Superlife offer the most ETF and Index Funds investment options in New Zealand. They not only offer SmartShares ETF in fund format but also provide managed fund and sector fund options for the investor. All of those funds invested in a passive index fund or ETF.
The Sector fund cover different country (NZ, AUS, Overseas), industry (Property, Shares) and investment vehicle (Cash, Bond, Shares). Those are great options to build your own balanced and diversified portfolio.
The Managed Fund is is a grouping of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents. The nature of those financial assets can be classified into two groups, income asset, and growth asset. Income asset includes cash and bond. They tend to carry lower risk levels and, therefore, are more likely to generate lower levels of return over the long term. Growth assets are shares and property. They tend to carry higher levels of risk, yet have the potential to deliver higher returns over longer investment time frames.
Superlife managed fund has different names, like SuperLife 30 or SuperLife 80. The number at the end show the target portion of growth asset in that fund. Superlife 30 will aim to hold around 30% of growth asset and 70% of income asset in the portfolio. So this fund is a low risk (or conservative) fund. On the other hand, Superlife 100 will aim to invest 100% into the growth asset. So the risk is high. Here is a breakdown.
SuperLife offer the most options, functions in the breakdown. The entry requirement is basically nonexistent, and the cost is relatively low. That’s why I recommend the beginner to start with Superlife.
Simplicity started as a nonprofit KiwiSaver provider. They provide low-cost KiwiSaver options to New Zealander while donating 15% their income to charity. Simplicity recently opened up their investment fund as non-KiwiSaver options as investors can deposit and withdraw their investment anytime they want. Simplicity only offers three managed funds as conservative, balance and growth fund. The majority of Simplicity fund invested in Vanguard’s funds or ETFs. The management fees are the lowest in New Zealand at 0.31% for managed fund. However, the initial investment requirement is $10,000.
InvestNow is a new online investment platform. Investors can directly invest into the selected fund on their platform with as little of $250. InvestNow does not charge any transaction, admin, setup or exit fee at this stage. Investor only needs to pay the management fee on an individual fund.
The biggest advantage of InvestNow is to allow the investor to directly invest into two Vanguard index fund in Australia. They are Vanguard International Shares Select Exclusions Index Fund (currency hedged and non-hedged version) with management fee at 0.20% and 0.26%. Those two funds are not PIE fund, means you will have to do your own tax return. For under 50k holding, you will only have to do tax return on dividend received, which is not that hard. You can check out the detail in this blog post.
I picked a couple of index funds and ETFs from each provider and made a comparison. Here is the breakdown.
As you can see, most of the option’s underlying asset are Vanguard ETFs and Index Fund. That’s basically what I am trying to do on my international exposure, putting money into low-cost Vanguard cost for long term.
- Superlife have the most function, investment options and easy to start. Also, have the lowest cost aggressive managed fund in NZ. It is great for both beginner and experienced investor.
- Simplicity has the lowest cost managed fund in Conservative, balance and growth area. Great for anyone with $10,000 to start investing.
- InvestNow user can easily invest in Vanguard index fund in Australia with 0.20% – 0.26% fee. Great for someone who can handle their tax return on dividend received (not that hard) or calculate under FIF rule.
- SmartShares is good if you wish to buy ETF on the share market.
- There are other ways to invest into a passive fund and ETF in New Zealand, like ASB Investment Fund, AMP, and Lifestages. However, the cost of those funds is quite high compared to these four services, which defeat the purpose of low-cost passive investing.
- New Zealand investors can buy Vanguard ETFs on Australian Stock market. The management fee can go as low as 0.04%. I will go into that later once I’ve done it myself.