Taking Kiwisaver Complaints Seriously

Author: Jonathan Barrett, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

Abstract: The New Zealand private retirement savings industry is underdeveloped relative to those of Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. However, with the establishment of the KiwiSaver scheme, the importance of this sector of the economy is increasing. The entry into the market by new fund managers and trustees and the dramatic growth in the number of financially inexperienced investors joining KiwiSaver schemes are likely to be accompanied by a significant increase in complaints. While the government has plans to rectify the currently inadequate regulation of the financial services industry, the issue of complaints resolution has not as yet been properly addressed. The experiences and practices of the overseas retirement fund dispute resolution mechanisms may provide guidance for developing an appropriate KiwiSaver complaints resolution process in New Zealand. In this article, procedures for resolving retirement fund complaints are considered. The different contexts of the New Zealand, Australian, South African and the United Kingdom retirement fund industries are sketched. Then, the complaint resolution processes of each country are outlined. In conclusion, recommendations are made for complaint resolution in respect of KiwiSaver schemes and superannuation funds.