19 Apr 2013

FINSIA urges Govt to make KiwiSaver compulsory

8:11 am on 19 April 2013

The lobby group for fund and wealth managers in New Zealand and Australia is urging the Government to make KiwiSaver compulsory.

New employees are automatically enrolled in the scheme, but can choose to opt out. The Government is considering making it compulsory, but hasn't said if, or when, it would do so.

A UMR Research survey of 1000 people commissioned by the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA), found 63% were in favour of making the retirement savings scheme compulsory, an increase of 6% compared to a year ago.

FINSIA chief executive Russell Thomas says KiwiSaver has been a success, but it won't be enough to provide for retirement unless it is made compulsory and contributions are increased.

He says Australia has a compulsory savings rate of 9% and there are even questions about the adequacy of that rate for retirement savings.

Mr Thomas says the decision has been made recently to increase that rate over a number of years until it reaches 15%.

He believes it's inevitable superannuation will become means-tested in the future, making KiwiSaver an increasingly important tool for retirement saving.

Meanwhile, the survey's author, Massey University senior lecturer in banking Dr Claire Matthews says it's concerning that an increasing number of people are choosing schemes run by their own bank, just for the sake of convenience.

More than 2 million people have joined KiwiSaver since it started five years ago.