17 Oct 2012

KiwiSaver advice guidance still worries bankers

8:50 am on 17 October 2012

Bankers Association executives say they will keep pressuring the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) over its new guidance note about KiwiSaver products.

The authority this week issued its final guidance on the sale and distribution of KiwiSaver products, giving providers and distributors until March to comply.

The guidance says only authorised financial advisers or advisers employed by a qualifying financial entity can give personalised advice about KiwiSaver schemes.

But the Bankers Association says that it's bad for consumers to limit who can give advice.

The association's chief executive Kirk Hope says the authority has gone beyond its powers.

"The FMA has tried to rewrite the legal test for what constitutes advice," he says.

"By limiting who can provide information about KiwiSaver, the guidance makes it harder for consumers to make informed decisions, because it effectively limits access to information about KiwiSaver products".

In a statement on Tuesday, the authority said it held a lengthy consultation process and the 20 submissions helped shaped the final guidance.

It said the aim is to raise public confidence in KiwiSaver and the capital markets.

But Mr Hope says the authority has ignored the submissions.

"A large number of the submitters made similar points to what we did around moving the boundary between information and advice ... and clearly the FMA hasn't listened."