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Concern over KiwiSaver and tax

There is growing disquiet about whether thew financial services industry can meet the government’s April 1 2007 deadline for tax changes and implementation of KiwiSaver.

Wednesday, March 29th 2006, 10:16AM

by Rob Hosking

A wide range of speakers at the Conferenz Super Summit in Wellington yesterday noted the fact final decisions have not been made on many of the details of both schemes meaning they will have “almost impossible” deadlines.

Tax, rather than KiwiSaver, seems to be the main concern.

Some indication is expected in early April, but there is concern this is going to leave too little time.

“We need some clarity on the tax changes first,” ING general manager wholesale Mark said. “That is fundamental to KiwiSaver.”

And Aventine’s Michael Littlewood says providers will have to meet the Qualifying Collective Investment Vehicles rules outlined in the tax proposals by that date puts a considerable administrative burden on providers.

“Adding KiwiSaver to the mix makes it almost impossible.

Whoever set that up really does not understand the superannuation business.”

Financial Planners and Insurance Advisers Association interim chief executive Ross Butler says there is “ungodly haste” around preparing tor the April 1 deadline.

“We’re concerned that might lead to an ungodly mess.”

And KiwiSaver consultant Phillip Matthews told the conference one of the country’s largest fund managers had told him it has no products which meet KiwiSaver specifications and he suspects many other managers are in the same boat.

However Matthews says the industry is still likely to sign up to the scheme.

Providers are looking at how KiwiSaver might develop over time, Matthews says.

“If we thought this would be the final version of KiwiSaver I think a lot of providers would say they would rather stay out.

“But virtually everybody is going to want to be in this given this is probably not the final thing.”

Rob Hosking is a Wellington-based freelance writer specialising in political, economic and IT related issues.

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