The way KiwiSaver is sold and distributed has come under the eye of the Financial Markets Authority.

The FMA has released guidance on what it considers to be "no advice", class advice and personalised advice models in a bid to make it clearer for sellers.

Sue Brown, head of primary regulatory operations at the FMA, said the guidance took into account the need for potential investors to have access to information and advice which was provided with "skill, care and diligence".

In its guidance note the FMA said it was aware of concern in the industry about the extent of service which may be provided by people who are not authorised financial advisers or advisers who work for a qualifying financial entity.


Only authorised financial advisers and QFE advisers are allowed to give personalised advice on KiwiSaver.

"FMA is also aware there is potentially a lack of consistency in the interpretation of the [Financial Advisers] act by distributors and their legal advisers."

The guidance states that a seller does not need to be registered to provide financial services if they are providing information only.

Those who give class advice, such as that in a brochure or seminar, must be registered and the information provided should only be generic.

"We consider class advice may be provided where a small number of questions are answered by the clients to ascertain a risk profile, which allocates the client to one of a small number of predetermined classes of person.

"Beyond this applying the factors outlined in this guidance note, FMA is likely to conclude the advice service is personalised."

The FMA says the client's expectations of the service should be the key factor in determining whether advice is personalised.

The FMA wants sellers to take the needs of potential investors into account and for providers to ensure there are "robust controls" in place to ensure sales people operate with a chosen service approach.

It states that financial advice is a recommendation or opinion to invest in a particular scheme, transfer to a different portfolio within the same scheme or transfer or withdraw funds from an existing KiwiSaver scheme as well as advice not to take one of these actions or suspend contributions.