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UK Pensions delegation learns from NZ super model

2 March 2005

UK Pensions delegation learns from NZ super model

This week a delegation from the UK Pensions Policy Unit is visiting New Zealand to learn more about New Zealand's superannuation policy and the Retirement Commission.

The delegation follows the Retirement Commissioner Diana Crossan's visit to London late last year, where she met with top officials including the Pensions Minister Malcolm Wicks, who praised New Zealand's superannuation model and the Retirement Commission's education role.

Ms Crossan says pensions have become a major issue in the UK, and four representatives from the UK's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are looking at how to adapt the British system so it is simpler and fairer.

Ms Crossan says New Zealand is the subject of international attention because its pension model is simple, affordable and supported by an education programme encouraging New Zealanders to focus on lifelong personal finance management.

"Other countries, including the UK, are particularly interested in the ways the New Zealand Government is encouraging people to boost their private provision. Politicians and pension experts in the UK are very interested in the concept of a Commissioner - helping people make better financial decisions throughout life so that they are better prepared for when they stop working," Ms Crossan said.

During their visit the delegation will meet with Finance Minister Dr Cullen and Minister of Social Development Hon Steve Maharey, as well as Opposition Finance Spokesperson John Key, financial services industry representatives, the Retirement Commissioner and senior government officials.

The delegation is equally interested in learning about the Retirement Commission's Sorted education programme and its strategy to promote financial education in schools. Financial education has growing importance in the UK with the UK government having just announced that it will be delivering a web-based retirement planner.

Also taking part in the visit is Shaun Mundy from the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA), which is an independent NGO funded by the private sector.

Mr Mundy said "The FSA is leading the development and implementation of a national strategy on financial capability. Our aim is to give people the skills and knowledge they need to make sensible decisions about their money. We have been impressed with the Retirement Commission's Sorted website and its focus on managing finances throughout life, rather than just focusing on retirement planning. We are keen to learn lessons about how Sorted has been developed and marketed."

ENDS

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