The KiwiSaver year in review: A tale of two halves


Markets had a mixed start to the year (1 April 2023), initially expecting tough trading conditions to continue based on a backdrop of rising interest rates and weakening economic growth. But as the year progressed, we saw a turnaround, and by the end of the year (31 March 2024) we had seen strong growth across most asset classes and funds. Market momentum started to shift from late October, as inflation began to show signs of coming under control and enthusiasm about growth opportunities increased. The US economy played its part with many seeing it in “goldilocks” terms (not too hot or too cold), with consumer spending, employment, and company earnings holding up well. Both bond and equity markets rallied in the second half of the year, with global shares marking one of their best periods for several years. However, the question remains, was this all too far too fast?


A massive part of the performance of global equities during the year was due to the domination of the mega-cap technology stocks. A select band of just seven stocks was responsible for two-thirds of the Standard and Poor’s 500 performance in 2023, but the positive market performance spread more broadly at the start of 2024. Markets delivered strong results for the year with all asset classes having a positive return. The major contributor was international equities, which rose around the mid-twenty percent mark over the year. International and domestic fixed interest returns bounced back from weakness in recent years.

Holding a mixture of complementary assets, managers, and strategies gives us confidence to navigate an uncertain future and helps smooth out the volatility of returns. It’s hard to see global equities repeating this year’s stellar outcome, but investors need to consider their performance on a long-term diversified basis, accepting that there will be good years and bad years throughout the investment journey.



BNZ Investment Services Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Harbour Asset Management Limited, is the Issuer and Manager of the BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme. Download a copy of the BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme Product Disclosure Statement PDF, or pick up a copy from a BNZ branch.

Investments in the BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme are not bank deposits or other liabilities of Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) or any other member of the National Australia Bank Limited group. They are subject to investment risk, including possible delays in repayment. You could get back less than the total contributed. No person (including the New Zealand Government) guarantees (either fully or in part) the performance or returns of the BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme or the repayment of amounts contributed. National Australia Bank Limited, the ultimate owner of BNZ, is not a registered bank in New Zealand but a licensed bank in Australia and is not authorised to offer the products and services mentioned on this webpage to customers in New Zealand.

BNZ Investment Services Limited (BNZISL) uses the BNZ brand under licence from Bank of New Zealand, whose ultimate parent company is National Australia Bank Limited. No member of the FirstCape group (including BNZISL) is a member of the NAB group of companies (NAB Group). No member of the NAB Group (including Bank of New Zealand) guarantees, or supports, the performance of any member of FirstCape group’s obligations to any party.

Any views expressed in this article are the personal views the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BNZ, or its related entities. This  article  is solely for information purposes and is not intended to be financial advice. If you need help, please contact BNZ or your financial adviser.

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