I worked in Australia for six years during the 1990s. Now back here, I am contributing to the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver scheme. About three years ago I attempted to repatriate my funds back to New Zealand, but to no avail. I have jumped through more hoops than a circus performer. My Aussie money is in the AMP Rollover fund and there is about AUD$7600 there. I have provided them with all my work records, passport photo and everything, but still no joy - it's blood from a stone stuff. What can I do?
It sounds like you have been doing all the hard work on your own. You need to work more closely with your provider, in your case Kiwi Wealth (owned by Kiwi Bank).
They provide members with an authority to transfer form, which asks for all the information on your Australian Super.
Kiwi Wealth will also need a recent statement or membership certificate from your Australian scheme.
Once these documents are received, they will contact the Australian scheme requesting the appropriate transfer documentation. It is important that your Australian scheme has your current contact details, as in most instances they will send transfer forms directly to you.
If you are already at this stage but have got bogged down in the red tape, get as much help as you can from Kiwi Wealth. They will be helping hundreds of members to transfer their Australian Super, and they are used to resolving problems that arise.
Once everything is approved, they will then pay your savings across to Kiwi Wealth. The proceeds will be in Australian dollars, so the strength (or weakness) of the NZ dollar will make a difference to the amount you get as it will be converted to NZ dollars here.
There are advantages and disadvantages in transferring your money across. Some of the advantages include that it may be easier to keep track of your savings and you will know what your retirement savings amount to in NZ dollars.
It may be easier to access information on your savings and you can deal with a local fund manager. Certainly for those people like you with smaller amounts invested, it makes sense to consolidate your retirement savings in your KiwiSaver account.
For investors with a larger balance, they should investigate any tax benefits there may be for their Aussie Super. Currency fluctuations are also a consideration. Your Aussie Super provider may also charge a fee to transfer the money.
Once your Aussie Super funds have been transferred to your KiwiSaver, the normal KiwiSaver rules apply - with some exceptions. These include, the inability to withdraw any of the Aussie money for a first home.
Also, the funds transferred do not count towards HomeStart grant eligibility or Member Tax Credits.
You cannot transfer the funds on to a third country. If you move back to Australia you can transfer your KiwiSaver money plus Aussie super to an Aussie Super scheme.
You may be able to access the transferred Aussie Super savings from your KiwiSaver at age 60, provided you satisfy the Australian definition of retirement.
- Shelley Hanna is an authorised financial adviser FSP12241. Her free disclosure statement is available on request by calling 06 870 3838 or go to www.peak.net.nz. The information in this article is general and is not personalised. Send your KiwiSaver questions to firstname.lastname@example.org