What’s causing the most recent market volatility?
This recent market volatility is simply a reflection of the markets returning to a more normal monetary policy setting environment.
- Interest rates: Until recently interest rates have been at their lowest which helped minimise the impact of the global pandemic. Through the pandemic this helped provide businesses and consumers with a bridge to the other side of the pandemic so that both can take part in and contribute to a strong recovery. This has fuelled economic growth and helped drive the prices of assets, including shares, up to record highs. Interest rate rises over 2022 are now widely expected in many countries including the US, Australia and New Zealand. Interest rate rises are not only expected to negatively impact the value of a bond portfolio, it is also expected to cause volatility in share markets too. New Zealand started increasing the rates last year and faster than anticipated. It was one of the key reasons New Zealand shares did not perform as well over 2021 as their global counterparts.
- Inflation: On the other hand inflation has surged globally (this can be seen at the shops and petrol stations). Inflation readings in the US particularly have been very high, climbing 7% over 2021. Central banks are now taking action to control it by reducing stimulus and raising interest rates, and with the US being a major influencer in global markets, taking this action is driving significant and broad-based global market volatility. While this is not great news for home owners with mortgages, it is expected to help control inflation and positively impact investment returns over the longer term.
- COVID-19: The new COVID-19 variant Omicron has continued to spread at a rapid pace around the world, and has just started moving through some New Zealand communities with the whole of New Zealand moving to a red traffic light system. This has created some volatility in our local share market, however evidence to date globally has suggested that the Omicron variant is generally less severe in terms of illness than other variants. In some countries around the world that have already experienced Omicron, restrictions have largely been left unchanged, signalling that we may be on a path where we can live ‘normally’ with the virus as it becomes endemic.
While it’s been great to see markets rally over the last 18 months (after the initial shock of 2020) fuelled by central banks stimulus packages, things are expected to slow down in the first half of the year with growth expected to rebound later in the year as the world works through the next steps in managing the new variant Omicron.
Things to remember in times of market volatility.
1. Diversify: Mercer’s schemes offer seven investment options.
Five of these, Conservative, Moderate, Balanced, Growth and High Growth, are diversified funds. This means they invest in a variety of assets such as shares, property, bonds and cash, although in different proportions. The other two options are, Cash and Shares, as its name suggests, the Cash option invests only in cash and the Shares option invests fully in shares. Make sure you know what investment option you are in and the impact markets may have on returns. You can find out more about the seven investment options here.
The Retirement Income Simulator available to you in the tools sections when you sign into your account at www.mercerfinancialservices.co.nz has a ‘stress test’ feature which can help you see how different market scenarios could impact each investment option.
2. Seek advice: Financial Advice Providers can help you make the right investment decisions.
The right financial advice provider can save you time and help you achieve your retirement savings or first home goals. If you are concerned about the markets, considering changing funds, investing more money or perhaps withdrawing some of your savings for a first home or retirement, then speak with Mercer’s financial advice team for free. If you would like to speak to one of the team, you can request a call at your preferred time. Alternatively, you can speak to our Helpline consultant via 0508 637 237 if you have any other questions about your account.
3. Stay calm - it’s about time, not timing.
You can access online tools to help you work out what fund you should be in and understand the impact markets may have on your investments. Take a moment to consider what sort of investor you are by taking our risk quiz here.
Need to withdraw money in the near future? If you are thinking of withdrawing your money for retirement or first home, it’s important that you understand your savings may be reduced if investment markets weaken. As you approach a life milestone you may wish to alter your investment options to better reflect your risk profile.
When was the last time you logged in? Get to know the Mercer Financial Services website. The website has plenty of information to help you with your investment journey. Accessing your online account enables you to view investment returns and account balances, adjust your investment options, update personal details and tailor how you would like to receive your investment information.
There are a number of ways you can get in touch with Mercer. We are doing our best to answer all your queries and address concerns as fast as we can.
Email: KiwiSaver@mercer.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Call: 0508 637 237 (if you are calling from overseas: +61 3 8687 1886) from 9.00am - 7.00pm Monday – Friday. Please note we are experiencing high call volumes at the moment and wait times are longer than normal.
Advice: Simply call us on 0508 637 237 to arrange to speak with Mercer’s financial advice team for free. They will get in touch within 1 to 2 days.
Documents: all documents can be accessed here.
This information has been prepared by Mercer (N.Z.) Limited for general information only. The information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making any investment decision, you should take financial advice as to whether your intended action is appropriate in light of your particular investment needs, objectives and financial circumstances. Neither Mercer nor any related party accepts any responsibility for any inaccuracy. Past performance is no guarantee or indicator of future performance.