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ASFONZ opposes generic savings scheme

ASFONZ has made a written submission to the Minister of Finance on the report of the Savings Product Working Group.

Monday, November 15th 2004, 9:31AM
The Association of Superannuation Funds of New Zealand (ASFONZ) has made a written submission to the Minister of Finance on the report of the Savings Product Working Group (SPWG). The SPWG’s report to the Government, which was made public on 15 September 2004, advised on the design and implementation issues to be resolved in delivering a widely adopted generic work-based savings product.

In summarising the key themes of their submission, ASFONZ executive director Bruce Kerr said “ASFONZ strongly supports the establishment of an education and information programme, a streamlining of the existing regulatory regime for savings and the removal of any existing tax disincentives.” Those initiatives were the first two steps along the SPWG’s suggested “pathway” of escalating levels of intervention to increase savings through work-based arrangements.

Kerr added that ASFONZ opposes a mandatory generic savings scheme. “We are concerned that the recommendations presume New Zealand has a retirement problem when the best evidence available indicates that New Zealanders are behaving rationally. There is also the potential for the introduction of a generic savings scheme to cause a change in employer attitudes to workplace superannuation. ASFONZ wholeheartedly endorses the SPWG’s remarks that any new generic scheme would only build slowly, and those gains would be rapidly and materially counteracted if the design features gave either incentive or excuse to close existing schemes and distribute fund balances”.

ASFONZ has recommended that the Minister of Finance carefully considers how any generic savings scheme integrates with and complements employer provided workplace superannuation schemes.

ASFONZ chairman Mike Woodbury added that “ASFONZ considers that initiatives that support and make it easier for employers to offer workplace superannuation schemes, such as greater education and streamlining of the regulatory regime, could result in the desired expansion of workplace superannuation and associated lift in savings. We think that options which make the most of existing workplace schemes should be fully explored before a generic scheme option is seriously considered”.

The full ASFONZ submission can be viewed at http://www.asfonz.org.nz/submissions/SPWG_report.pdf

A press release from the Association of Superannuation Funds of New Zealand

« Govt needs to protect super fund peopleOpposition to workplace savings scheme mounts »

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