How Long Does It Take To Switch Your kiwisaver

Now some of you might already know that I decided, back in August, that it was time to move my KiwiSaver fund away from the big bank and high fees and switch to a low fee provider. I decided this after looking into a few low fee KiwiSaver providers and decided Superlife was for me.

I like to be hands-on with my investments, Superlife allows me to do that. I can personalise my KiwiSaver asset locations the way I like. Sure Simplicity and Juno are marginally cheaper– but investments are not always about fees.

I was chatting with a friend the other day and a good question about Kiwisaver came up. A question that I don’t think many people discuss when talking about Kiwisaver. How long does it actually take to change Kiwisaver schemes, and how hard is it exactly.

The general feeling I got was that there seems to be the feeling that it would take an eternity to change and that it would be a hassle having to fill in a lot of paperwork- Basically that it’s easier to stick to my current provider- which it is- but how hard is it really to change Kiwisaver providers?

How Hard is it to Change Kiwisaver Providers?

First off, I want to put one idea to bed. The idea that it’s hard to change your KiwiSaver providers. It really isn’t difficult at all. Just go and do it.

How do you actually change Kiwisaver Providers?

My friend thought that you would need to contact the IRD to change KiwiSaver provider- this probably comes from the myth that KiwiSaver is controlled by the government. But there is no need to directly contact IRD at all.

To change Kiwisaver providers, all you need to do is to apply directly to the provider you want to change to. Your new provider wants your business (after all, they get to increase their income through fees) and does all the work for you.

But- remember to check whether or not your old provider charges a transfer fee- I’ve been told that is allowed. This might be a bit of a surprise for you on your statement. This fee is supposed to cover any expenses in relation to you changing. I think the fee is a bit unfair.

Switching Kiwsavers isn’t hard at all!

Each provider has an incentive to make it as easy as possible for you to change to their scheme. Competition in action. If they don’t make it easy for you they won’t gain new business. A good provider will do much, if not all, of the work for you. This includes

  • Notifying your old scheme
  • Organising the transfer of your money to your new scheme
  • Notifying IRD so they can forward any new contributions to your new scheme

The process of switching took me about 10 minutes. Then about a day to confirm my ID.

How Long does it take to change KiwiSaver Providers

I can understand it takes time to change KiwiSaver, but how long exactly? I googled this before I changed, and could only find the answer in the Kiwisaver Act 2006. I’ve copied the relevant passage below:

The provider of the old scheme must, within 35 days of receiving notice of the transfer (or any longer period agreed between the providers of the old and new schemes):

  • transfer the member’s accumulated funds to the new scheme;
  • give notice to the member of the amount transferred;
  • give notice to the provider of the new scheme:
    • of the date on which the member first became a member of a KiwiSaver scheme;
    • whether the member has made a withdrawal for the purchase of a first home; and
    • of any contributions holidays in force.

So at most- it should take 35 days from when your old scheme receives notice of your intention to leave.

Real-World Example

So how long does it actually takes to change Kiwisaver? I kept a record of all the important dates to give you a bit of an insight into the process. After all- it’s not every day that you change providers.

Day 1: Signup to the New Provider: 3/08/2019

I signed up on the 3/08/2019– a Saturday. The signup process was about 10 minutes. You need to provide your IRD number and ID. That’s it.

About an hour later I received an email saying that my identity and address have been verified electronically.

Day 6: First Contact: 9/08/2019

I wasn’t expecting anything too soon. I mean I signed up on a Saturday. Nearly a week later, on the 9 of Ausust, I received the following email confirming that my new Kiwisaver provider had received my request.

We have requested the transfer of your KiwiSaver account balance from the ANZ KiwiSaver Scheme on 9 August 2019.  They may take up to 35 days to process this request.
We will be back in touch once the transfer has been completed.   

Day 6: Notification to Change Kiwisaver Schemers to IRD: 9/08/2019

Once my new provider had confirmed my change request they promptly inform IRD on the same day.

How long does it take to change kiwisaver schemes providers different kiwi saver managers

Now it’s a waiting game- how long will it take for ANZ to transfer the money to my new scheme?

Day 12: First deposit into my new KiwiSaver Scheme: 15/08/2019

I was really excited to receive a notification of my first deposit into my new KiwiSaver on the 15th of August. That’s only 12 days from when I filled in the form. When I logged on I was disappointed though. There were 11 cents in my account transferred from IRD.

How long does it take to change kiwisaver schemes providers different kiwi saver managers

My 11 cents promptly dropped to 8 cents the next day. Yes- I was logging on every day to check when my fund had been transferred- normally I believe you shouldn’t check your KiwiSaver often- especially if you are in a growth fund- but I was doing this for you!

Talk about market volatility- 1 day and I’d lost 28% of my balance.

How long does it take to change kiwisaver schemes providers different kiwi saver managers

Day 16: Transfer of My KiwiSaver Funds: 19/08/2019

All my funds had been transferred on the 19 of August. So, in reality, it only took 16 days to transfer my KiwiSaver scheme.

We confirm the completion of the transfer of your account balance from your previous KiwiSaver provider to SuperLife.  The transferred funds were added to your SuperLifeAccount on 19 August 2019 and will appear on your next statement.  

Surprise with Changing Kiwisaver Providers

During this whole time, I expected to get a phone call or email from my old provider- along the lines of “can we convince you to stay with us”.

Or, at least I was expecting them to ask why I wanted to change, in an attempt to improve their service to retain their current customer. I didn’t receive either. To me- this shows that the big banks don’t really care.

This is another reason why I think you shouldn’t be as loyal to your bank as most people generally are. Many people are only with their current bank because their parents bank their too- which is similar to religion.

Changing KiwiSaver providers, or who you bank with, when you are not happy with their service, or someone else is providing a better deal, helps increase competition- which ultimately provides better outcomes for all Kiwis.

So, what’s your experience with changing Kiwisaver Providers?

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2 thoughts on “How Long Does It Take To Switch Your kiwisaver”

  1. Hi,
    good information.
    Just wondering why fees are important if returns are better with a higher fee providers? eg Morning Star and Canstar comparison’s.
    I too am moving away from ANZ after a negative result with their Conservative Fund when others had gains.
    during switching how many days are you out of the market for gains or losses?


    • Returns are important. But you can’t predict future returns. You can predict your fees.

      I’m not sure how long the funds were out of the market. I suspect a few days maybe, over the long term it really doesn’t matter


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