Capital market recommends changes to Kiwisaver

Changes to KiwiSaver, taxing of investments, simplified finance market rules, and greater industry co-operation on technology are among recommendations to bring new life to the country's capital markets.

The Financial Markets Authority and the stock exchange operator, NZX, sponsored the industry-wide review, called Capital Markets 2029, to look at the broader financial markets and recommend changes to attract more participants and boost product diversity over the next 10 years.

The chairperson of the review, Martin Stearne, a former investment banker and current member of NZX and Takeover Panel committees, said it now needs to get the necessary feedback on the next step.

"I don't think anyone should or could expect a change would happen within the first year, it is a very long term thing," he said.

Stearne said there was plenty of potential to grow the size of New Zealand's capital markets.

"We're seeing plenty of young companies developed here - very, very eager, ambitious companies wanting to take on the world."

"There's a very active angel sector here and if these companies can get funding right the way through, I'm pretty bullish about the outlook for New Zealand in the long term," he said.

Angel sector refers to early stage investment.

The review has produced 42 recommendations, but has prioritised 18 of them covering KiwiSaver, regulation, public sector assets and infrastructure, promotion of public markets, tax, new products, and technology.

Among the mooted changes are allowing KiwiSaver members to be able to put their money with more than one provider, changing the taxation of retirement savings to be taxed only when paid out to investors to encourage saving, simplifying documents and information disclosure and greater industry co-operation on technology.

"We believe our KiwiSaver recommendations will retain direct personal participation in the capital markets, open access to alternative investments and, more importantly, act as a catalyst for greater innovation from existing and new KiwiSaver providers," the report said.

NZX chief executive Mark Peterson also said the capital markets had great potential for growth, with a forecast four-fold increase in KiwiSaver to more than $200 billion over the next decade.

"Technology is also breaking down some of the traditional barriers to investment, with online investment platforms such as Sharesies allowing people to get started from as little as $5, the cost of a single cup of coffee," he said.

The report went beyond a recent review and revamp of the NZX, which saw it change its rules, fees, and structure, in a bid to attract more companies to list.

FMA chief executive Rob Everett said it would consider the review recommendations carefully.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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