21 May 2014

Investor material still needs work - FMA

6:57 am on 21 May 2014

The Financial Markets Authority says there is still a lot of work to do to improve the quality and relevance of material, like offer documents, to investors.

The FMA surveyed 1000 people and found that overall confidence in financial markets was 59 percent, up five percentage points compared with last year.

The number of people holding some form of investment, which includes stock market-listed shares, KiwiSaver, and managed funds or bonds, nudged up three percentage points to 75 percent.

However, only 53 percent of respondents with investments said the materials they received about those were helpful in making an informed decision.

The authority said this was consistent with other feedback it had received.

FMA chief executive Rob Everett said that figure showed how much work needed to be done by the industry and regulators to design information that was of use.

He said the authority has new powers that will be introduced in December as part of the Financial Markets Conduct Act which will force shorter more concise offer documents, but he said it was trying to encourage the industry to move towards that ahead of time.

Mr Everett said it could be argued that a lot of people were not using the investor education material made available in the form of offer documents, or financial disclosure documents at all. He said the industry and regulators have to think very hard about how to turn that around.

Mr Everett said once the changes come in people can expect to see shorter documents that are structured in a way that make clear the key information, risks.

"The rest of the information will be available but what we're trying to do is target the information that we think, and the companies think, the investors really need to understand about that company before they make their decision."

Mr Everett said it will be a question filtering the information down, making it more user-friendly and easier to find.