Financial advisers welcome figures showing more people in the past year actively considered if the default fund they were in was the right one for them.

Financial Advice NZ Chief Executive Katrina Shanks says this shows the message about looking at other options is getting through.

She was commenting on the Financial Markets Authority’ annual KiwiSaver report that showed 52,000 default members made an active decision about their investment over the year – up from 28,000 the previous year.

“That’s a great result.

“There’s been a lot of talk about default funds and options over the past year or so and it’s encouraging that more people are following this advice and looking to see if there are better options for them.

“Our message has always been that people should look hard at the KiwiSaver scheme they’re in – particularly if they’re in a default scheme – and compare its returns and fees with others.

“It’s clear that default providers are stepping up their game, with six out of nine increasing the percentage of total members who made an active choice to join them. That means there’s more competition out there and that’s good for consumers.

“An increase of 5% in those transferring between schemes, default or otherwise, also shows people are getting smarter about their investment choices.’’

Mrs Shanks said though fees had not come down as far as the FMA was hoping for she was confident they were heading in the right direction.

“There’s been some movement, with a couple of the big funds trimming their fees, though it has been only a trim and most are still above comparable schemes in the UK.

“For that reason our message is unchanged: compare, compare, compare.

“This is where the value of consulting a professional financial adviser comes in, to help people make decisions that are right for them.”