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Booster calls for Smart Investor initiative to go further

Booster applauds this weeks’ launch of Smart Investor as a step in the right direction but says it highlights a wider issue in the sector and how difficult making informed investment decisions can be for everyday New Zealanders.

Conduct in the financial services industry has been under review with the FMA and RBNZ recently assessing the life insurance and banking sectors, respectively. Both reports identified the need for providers to show a duty of care and a focus on customer outcomes as key considerations.

While Smart Investor, which helps New Zealanders to easily find KiwiSaver and Managed funds and compare them based on fees, returns and asset mix, should be credited for increasing transparency, the site is silent on the key issue of customer focussed outcomes.

“It seems a contradiction that Smart Investor guides investors to focus on fees and returns as their decision-making criteria, while consideration of the customers wider interests and outcomes is a key area that has been found to be lacking by the FMA and RBNZ.”

“Given the findings of these reports, it would seem logical that such a tool should give investors insight into the level of customer centricity and support from each provider,” says Allan Yeo, Managing Director of Booster.

Information about what underlying investments make up the asset mix and other factors such as additional included benefits are also not readily promoted within the site.

“Feedback from our members shows that ethical and socially responsible investment options and supporting New Zealand businesses through vehicles such as Booster Tahi, plays a significant part in their decision making. It’s good to see that Smart Investor is starting to take a step toward including this information.”

“Smart Investor is a great initiative, improving the transparency of KiwiSaver and Managed funds for everyday New Zealand investors. However, we know people care about where their money is invested so we have always provided this data and a full breakdown of what our funds invest in.”

“While it’s great to see Smart Investor stamping that standard across the industry, we would prefer to see the focus on fees and returns balanced by also promoting information about the level of customer centricity and support from each provider,” says Yeo.

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