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Latest Morningstar report shows strong Simplicity fund performance

Published on 22/03/2024

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The latest Morningstar KiwiSaver quarterly survey was released in February, covering fund returns for the three months and one, three, five, and 10 years to December 31, 2023. As we’ve covered in a previous blog around interpreting Morningstar reports, these quarterly releases show how various funds and fund managers who participate in the survey stack up by risk and asset category. They’re designed to help Kiwi investors assess the past performance and other key characteristics of their KiwiSaver superannuation options. The surveys do not cover all KiwiSaver providers or funds, but some may find them helpful in providing an independent, relatively comprehensive lens on the KiwiSaver market. So - how did we stack up in the latest survey?


Simplicity KiwiSaver Growth Fund achieves top ranking over one year

Our KiwiSaver Growth Fund achieved strong returns over the last year to 31 December 2023, and was  ranked 1st over one year and 3rd over five years amongst other growth  funds. The sample sizes within the KiwiSaver Growth Fund category across these one- and five-year rankings were 26 and 18 funds respectively. The reason there are less funds in the five-year sample was that some of the funds included in the one-year sample size had not been established five years ago.


The three-year return of Simplicity’s Growth Fund was not quite as strong (7th out of 24 comparative funds), but we were still above the market average and in the top third amongst our peers. The three-year data includes several months of negative returns during the height of the Covid pandemic when returns on shares as well as bonds were significantly depressed.


Simplicity Balanced and Default Fund Performance ain’t bad

The Simplicity Balanced KiwiSaver Fund continues to rank near the top of the ladder over the past one and five years to the end of December 2023; ranking 6th out of 34 for one year and 7th out of 21 for five years. Simplicity’s Default Fund was ranked first equal out of the six government-appointed Default funds over the past 12 months, a ranking which we are of course very proud of. Given the change to the Default Fund providers and fund types in late 2021, none of the current default funds have more than one-year performance available to report.


The Conservative Fund returns see some improvement over the short-term

Those in the Conservative KiwiSaver Fund will have noted some improved returns in the last three months and in fact we were the top performing Conservative fund over the three months to the end of December 2023. This strong short-term performance means we have been ranked 4th over the last year. Rising and high interest rates have been a drag on returns over the last three and five years, which means that performance hasn’t as strong as we would like – ranking 16th and 10th accordingly.  If this trend reverses (which the market is expecting later this year – fingers crossed!), both our Balanced and Conservative funds are well-positioned to benefit from the rate cuts. 


A quick note on our newer KiwiSaver funds

Both our KiwiSaver High Growth Fund and KiwiSaver Defensive Funds were established in May 2023, meaning they don’t yet have one-year results to report. The Simplicity High Growth Fund ranked 7th of 14 peers in the Aggressive category over the three-month period, and our Defensive Fund ranked 12th of 18 funds in Morningstar’s Conservative category, which also includes defensive funds..



The Morningstar Quarterly KiwiSaver Survey does not cover all KiwiSaver providers or funds and can be found at https://www.morningstar.com.au/insights/topic/kiwisaver-survey. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investment involves risk and returns can be negative as well as positive. Simplicity NZ Ltd is the issuer of the Simplicity KiwiSaver Scheme. For a Product Disclosure Statement go to our website simplicity.kiwi