Canstar Reveals its Awards for Best KiwiSaver Providers 2021

Don’t miss out on the best KiwiSaver. Canstar’s latest research reveals the KiwiSaver schemes with the best returns, and awards the standout providers.

KiwiSaver is always the hottest topic on the Canstar Gold website – even beating Bitcoin! This year our most popular article by far is New Zealand’s Top 10 KiwiSaver Schemes.

In the story, we outline the biggest KiwiSaver providers, by number of members. And, for a bit of fun, we list the ten schemes that earned the biggest returns for the 12 months to June this year.

However, while our story is informative, it doesn’t drill down into the cold, hard statistics of individual funds. That’s what Canstar’s annual KiwiSaver Star Ratings and Awards are for.

Our KiwiSaver Star Ratings involve a sophisticated and unique ratings methodology. Canstar’s expert research team delves deep and compares the costs, features and performance of KiwiSaver funds. And, importantly, we don’t just look at short-term results.

KiwiSaver is intended as a long-term investment. And our research reflects this, rewarding providers for their average returns over the past five years.

For this year’s ratings, we’ve expanded on the number of funds, schemes and providers we’ve researched. In total we cover:

  • 17 Providers
  • 22 Schemes
  • 133 Total Funds

Each of the eligible KiwiSaver funds is rated across three main categories:


Most importantly, this covers annual returns, but it also looks at consistency of performance. This means how returns fluctuate year to year – whether they are consistent or vary wildly.


Features include: the range of investment options offered by a KiwiSaver provider, the financial advice, tools and support provided, and ease of member access.


Annual cost to members, including fees and total fund charges.

Provider of the Year


Coming out on top for the second year in a row is Milford, the winner of our overall Provider of the Year | KiwiSaver Award. Milford wins the award thanks to outstanding performance across all KiwiSaver profiles.


As you can see below, Milford scores Canstar’s top 5-Star ratings for its Conservative, Balanced and Growth schemes. Milford is also one of this year’s winners of our Outstanding Value KiwiSaver Awards.

These accolades, in addition to the fact that Milford also rates highly for customer satisfaction, is the reason why Milford is, once again, Canstar’s Provider of the Year | KiwiSaver.

Provider of the Year | KiwiSaver Find Out More

Outstanding Value

BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme | Fisher Funds KiwiSaver Scheme | Milford KiwiSaver Plan

This year, three schemes share top honours in our Outstanding Value | KiwiSaver Award. This award is concerned only with the returns that KiwiSaver funds provide to their customers.

When researching this award, we compare the cost, features and performance of KiwiSaver funds (over a minimum of five years) across balanced, conservative and growth profiles. Then, we acknowledge the scheme or schemes that demonstrate outstanding value across all three fund profiles with our top award.

Outstanding Value KiwiSaver Awards Find Out More

Canstar’s Best KiwiSaver Funds

Part of choosing a KiwiSaver provider is determining which fund type is best for you, your financial goals and your appetite for risk.

If you are expecting to make a withdrawal in the near future, it’s recommended that you choose a more balanced fund. This reduces your risk, and the chances of your KiwiSaver balance dropping suddenly just before you access your funds.

However, if you’re just starting on your KiwiSaver journey, a riskier growth fund could help boost your initial investment.

If you are considering changing your fund or risk profile, check out the different funds that earned our top 5-Star ratings for Outstanding Value across the following fund categories:

Best Cash Funds

BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme – Cash Fund

Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme – Cash Fund

Superlife KiwiSaver Scheme – NZ Cash Fund


Best Conservative Funds

Fisher Funds TWO KiwiSaver Scheme – Conservative Fund

Generate KiwiSaver Scheme – Conservative Fund

Milford KiwiSaver Plan – Conservative Fund


Best Defensive Funds

Superlife KiwiSaver Scheme – NZ Bonds Fund

Superlife KiwiSaver Scheme – Overseas Bonds Fund

Superlife KiwiSaver Scheme – SuperLife Income


Best Balanced Funds

BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme – Balanced Fund

Fisher Funds KiwiSaver Scheme – Balanced Strategy

Fisher Funds TWO KiwiSaver Scheme – Balanced Fund

                                       Milford KiwiSaver Plan – Balanced Fund


Best Growth Funds

BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme – Growth Fund

Fisher Funds KiwiSaver Scheme – Growth Fund

Milford KiwiSaver Plan Active – Growth Fund


Best Aggressive Funds

Booster KiwiSaver Scheme – Geared Growth Fund



About the author of this page

Bruce PitchersThis report was written by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce began his career writing about pop culture, and spent a decade in sports journalism. More recently, he’s applied his editing and writing skills to the world of finance and property. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.

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