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Building a trusted financial sector

Retirement Commissioner Dianna Crossan has spelt out to her new minister a raft of issues which are hurting the financial sector.

Thursday, December 18th 2008, 7:03AM
She says, in her briefing to minister Paula Bennett, that the financial services industry is a critical part of New Zealand’s social and economic fabric.

One of her goals is to build a “trusted financial sector.” “It is fundamental to ensuring Kiwis can manage their finances well throughout life and prepare financially for retirement. New Zealanders must have a financial sector they can fully trust.

In my view, many parts of the industry achieve high standards, but it is not universal.

“I regularly receive calls or hear comments from people about their interactions with the financial sector. Issues of concern include commission structures, lack of fee transparency, pushy sales, complex products and documentation, sales of inappropriate products, products that fail to perform as expected, over-zealous promotion, exorbitant interest rates, unapproachable institutions and archaic products.”

“Such problems undermine trust in the sector as a whole.”

Crossan says the sector reforms that are coming out of the Ministry of Economic Development’s Product and Providers Review, should help improve transparency, accountability and trust in the sector.

She notes that the Financial Advisers Act and the Financial Services Providers Act set a new standard for that section of the financial sector.

“Potential changes to legislation regarding the insurance sector may also raise the bar.”

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