The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has released its survey into consumer experiences of financial providers, which was commissioned to understand customer experiences of their conduct and communications.
The survey found that New Zealanders are ‘relatively satisfied’ with their providers, with eight out of ten stating they have at least one investment product.
KiwiSaver was by far the most common investment type, with 67% of respondents being in a KiwiSaver scheme. Life insurance was second in line with 37%, followed by other superannuation schemes with 14%.
Results showed that 71% of all investors felt they had been treated fairly by their providers, with 69% expressing confidence in their knowledge of their products and services. According to DMA director of strategy and risk Simone Robbers, levels of satisfaction were directly correlated to how clearly fees were presented and explained, and whether customers understood why the product met their needs.
“Changes to make KiwiSaver fees more transparent this year appear to have helped, with a significant rise in positive perceptions amongst KiwiSaver members,” Robbers said.
“While this shows that providers have done some work in this area, there is more to do. Explaining fees and whether a product is appropriate are the areas having the biggest impact on how consumers rate providers. Consumers agree with us that these factors are the best sign of whether providers are putting customer interests first and demonstrating good conduct.”
According to the survey, almost half of all respondents have no plans to make any financial changes such as increasing KiwiSaver contribution, buying shares or investing in property. Customers with investment portfolios also appear to have more confidence than those in KiwiSaver schemes; 91% of investment portfolio holders felt their provider was ‘knowledgeable about their products and services,’ and 86% felt they had been treated fairly, compared to 63% and 68% for KiwiSavers, respectively.
Robbers says the survey is part of the FMA’s ‘continued focus’ on conduct and culture in the financial services sector.
“We’ll keep leaning into the providers to ensure that good conduct and good customer outcomes are their top priorities,” Robbers stated. “In a year when the conduct of major institutions in financial services has come under close scrutiny it is encouraging that most consumers tend to trust their provider.”