Where the $3.2 billion Kiwis have in Bonus Bonds could be invested after they wind up in October

With Bonus Bonds now closed to new investors and starting to wind up from the end of October, $3.2 billion of funds will be looking for a new home.   

Bondholders can either cash in their bonds or leave them in the scheme for up to 12 months, in the hope they'll be worth slightly more after the wash-up.   

With historically low interest rates and forecasts of a negative cash rate next year, the 1.2 million bondholders in the scheme as at the end of August, will be forced to rethink where to put their money.

Newshub spoke to financial experts about some of their options.

Savings accounts or term deposits  

For those who want flexibility and certainty, bank deposits are a low-risk option.

Kiwibank head of borrowing and savings, Chris Grieg, said in the current environment, more customers wanted fast access to their cash.

"Customers are tending to choose to have funds in a ready-access transaction or savings account, valuing this flexibility over the return currently on offer of term deposits," he said.

Current term deposit rates offered by the bank are between 0.15 percent for 30 days, to 1.45 percent for five years. It also offered a special of 1.40 percent for nine months.

Managed funds

Those prepared to invest for at least three-to-five years could consider a managed fund.

Mint Asset Management head of sales David Boyle said as with KiwiSaver, returns differ according to the percentage of cash, shares and property a fund invests in.

Unlike term deposits, managed fund investors can only look at past returns for an indication of how much their money will earn. 

"For example, for a diversified income fund such as Mint's which has 70 percent in cash and fixed interest and 30 percent in equities and property, over the last year (as at August 2020), the fund provided a net return of 2.03 percent, but over five years, it returned 5.12 percent net. This highlights the impact of lower interest rates," Boyle said. 

During COVID-19, more investors were spreading their risk. This meant their investment wasn't limited to one type of asset or company.  

"We're seeing people moving out of fixed interest and going into more diversified funds - lifting up the risk of the types of shares or property that are listed," Boyle added.


People can invest in shares either through managed funds, or directly through platforms such as Sharesies and Hatch.

Sharesies co-founder Leighton Roberts, said shares are more suited to people wanting to grow wealth over the long-term - at least ten years.

"We encourage new investors to invest amounts they can afford (not what they can afford to lose), in diversified investments, aiming for long term outcomes," Roberts said.

Companies that performed well globally during COVID-19 include pharmaceutical and technology companies.

"In New Zealand, well-known companies like Fisher & Paykel Healthcare have stood out - and in the US, tech companies like Zoom have seen a lot of growth." 

Although the aim is to buy low and sell high, it's difficult to time the market.  Some investors use a strategy called 'dollar cost averaging'.

"It works by regularly investing the amount you can afford into shares, rather than saving up and making larger one-off transactions," he said.


Options for investing in property include through direct ownership (residential or commercial property), through a syndicate (commercial property) or through a property fund or shares (commercial property).

Financial educator and property investor Lisa Dudson, said the more money borrowed (or 'leveraged'), the higher the potential risk and return.

"In general, property has outperformed term deposits substantially, but people carry a lot more risk to get that higher return, Dudson said.

"Advantages are the ability to use leverage, manage a property directly and add value, disadvantages are the overuse of leverage [borrowing too much] and tenants who damage the property or don't pay the rent," Dudson added.

As interest rates are low, new investors may be tempted by promotions offering higher returns. But Boyle reminds them to be cautious. 

"The key questions are what is my money going into, can I get money out when I want and do I get my capital back," he said.

ANZ said it was writing to all Bondholders about their options and urged them to get in touch if their details have changed.  

As there's no one-size-fits-all investment, people are encouraged to get advice first.