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Women play it safe with KiwiSaver

February 28 2008

Media Release

Women play it safe with KiwiSaver

Women are erring on the side of caution when investing in KiwiSaver while men appear to be more comfortable with higher levels of risk, according to Fiona Oliver, Chief Operating Officer of BT Funds Management, the developer and manager of the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme.

Ms Oliver’s comments are based on membership data from the highly popular Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme, which offers five investment funds to suit a wide range of “investment appetites”, including a unique Capital Protection Plan Fund (CPP) that protects contributions to maturity.

Membership of the Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme is currently more than 55,000 and is skewed towards females (56%).

To date, females have been attracted towards more conservative Westpac KiwiSaver investment options with 59% of investors in the CPP being female. Ms Oliver said take up numbers in the other Westpac KiwiSaver investment funds also indicated that women were exercising more caution when making their investment selection, with 60% of the investors in the Cash Fund and 58% of the investors in the Conservative Fund being female. These investment funds are aimed at those seeking lower levels of risk and more stable returns. Ms Oliver says that with the current market volatility, she anticipates conservative investment options like the CPP will continue to attract more investors, including a higher percentage of women.

“The CPP is a unique KiwiSaver investment option which we developed specifically for people seeking peace of mind,” she said. “We designed it for those who would be anxious if their investment funds went down or fluctuated as it protects the contributions to the maturity of the fund.”

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Ms Oliver said that subject to certain circumstances, CPP protects members’ contributions, plus whatever the government and their employers have contributed. However, she said CPP also offers the potential for higher returns through its exposure to shares. Ms Oliver added that while she had expected the CPP to appeal to women, she had been pleasantly surprised at how attractive it had been to this group.

“Currently, women appear to be the more cautious of KiwiSaver investors,” said Ms Oliver. “However, they also have strong representation across all funds, and the fact that they are choosing the CPP that protects their capital but also gives them the potential upside of shares shows they are thinking long term.”

BT manages and administers around $2.0 billion of funds under management. BT provides a wide range of investment options, including funds managed by its own teams as well as alliances with global investment managers. Westpac purchased BT in 2002.

See www.westpac.co.nz/kiwisaver for an investment statement and further information including a personal risk profile.

- Ends-


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