KiwiSaver index lifts but knowledge lacking – survey

by Krizzel Canlas05 Sep 2018

New Zealanders’ knowledge of KiwiSaver has increased slightly in the last quarter but still remains low, according to the latest report from ASB.

According to the ASB KiwiSaver survey, just 20% of 30 to 39 year olds, and 19% of 40 to 49 year olds, rated their understanding of KiwiSaver as high compared with 28% of under 30s, 32% of 50 to 59 year olds and 27% of over 60s.

“The overall level of knowledge and confidence is low, but the result for the 30 to 49 year age bracket is particularly worrying, as those are strong earning years when people need to be making good decisions about retirement savings,” ASB senior wealth economist Chris Tennent-Brown said.

“Scheme providers face the challenge of engaging with investors, and the traditional channels of investment documents such as product disclosure statements and investment reports won’t cut the mustard for many investors.”

Tennent-Brown also highlighted that KiwiSaver members prefer portable devices and smartphones more than paper bank statements and computers when checking their balance.

“Even during a branch visit or phone call, technology can be playing a part in these traditional contacts. Frontline staff are using tools and computer programmes to talk about KiwiSaver with customers,” he noted. “Last year for example, ASB had over 60,000 conversations with customers that involved ASB’s computer-based tool KiwiSaver Explorer.”

Despite the uptake of mobile apps and other technology to support investors, Tennent-Brown is challenging financial advisers to work more to help people understand what types of assets their KiwiSaver fund invests in, and what it means for past performance and expected returns.

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