Advisers lack ‘persuasive message’ around KiwiSaver
Advisers are ideally positioned to help tackle the looming retirement savings shortfall but are failing to convince KiwiSavers of the value of advice, says Mercer NZ head Martin Lewington.
Tuesday, June 5th 2012, 11:02PM
by Benn Bathgate
“I don’t think financial advisers are getting out there and having a persuasive message to KiwiSavers,” he said.
“Some media [reports] over the weekend said they’re not getting paid for it, so you’ve got to flip it around, you need to make your proposition more persuasive - more compelling - so that the customer sees the value in it.”
Lewington was speaking to Good Returns in the wake of the release of a Mercer discussion paper outlining recommendations around KiwiSaver and NZ Super to address the financial impact of an expanding ageing population.
He said that with the July date approaching when the first KiwiSavers will draw on their funds, it was more important than ever for Kiwi’s to successfully manage their post-retirement phase, “and for the industry to develop adequate and sustainable income streams for retirees.”
The paper argues that unless measures are taken such as raising the retirement age and enabling people to work longer, the potential financial impact of our ageing population “could dwarf the global financial crisis.”
Mercer also recommended the development of an annuities market and, in a space ideally suited to advisers, a change of investment philosophy.
“Encouraging investors and KiwiSaver providers to look beyond traditional defensive asset strategies which emphasise fixed interest investment allocations and instead offer an expanded set of asset classes, offering members a portfolio construction suited to their specific needs and retirement lifestyles,” the paper said.
Lewington said it was ironic that while advice could help boost a savers’ retirement pot - and would be increasingly needed as balances grow - Mercer’s recent KiwiSaver Sentiment Survey found a fall in the amount of people seeking KiwiSaver advice from a financial adviser.
“They [advisers] should be very well positioned to look at their customers’ personal balance sheet, they’ll know them, their family, their whole personal situation,” he said.
“If they’re doing their job well they’ll have a really good head around it.”
Benn Bathgate is a business reporter for ASSET and Good Returns, email story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
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