New Zealand's financial watchdog has launched a bid to get more Kiwis doing their homework before jumping into an investment.

Paul Gregory, director of investor capability at the Financial Markets Authority, said its research showed people spent more time planning a holiday or wedding than investigating financial decisions.

"People tend to be quite good at budgeting when it comes to something like a wedding or a holiday but tend to be not so good at being forensic."

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The FMA has updated the consumer part of its website and is planning a series of new information brochures to add to the ones it already has on investing in property syndicates, capital notes and foreign exchange trading.

Gregory said its research also showed the majority of consumers and potential investors had never spoken to a financial adviser but were hungry for information.

"We know that people want access to free and independent resources that will help them become more confident about deciding what to do with their money."

Paul Gregory, director of investor capability at the Financial Markets Authority. Photo/Supplied.
Paul Gregory, director of investor capability at the Financial Markets Authority. Photo/Supplied.

The FMA was set up in May 2011 in the wake of New Zealand's finance company collapses after the previous regulator was criticised for not doing enough to stop the failures and stem investor losses.

Around $5 billion was put at risk during the industry's failure and much of that money has not been paid back to investors.

Gregory said the bid to raise awareness of its resources was part of an ongoing drive by the FMA to help inform investors.

Those most likely to benefit from it were probably people who were already in KiwiSaver and had the desire and capability to invest elsewhere.

Gregory said the key message was that people should carefully consider any investment.

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The risks are real. You need to do your research.

Gregory said financial products should be seen as a tool, not a starting point for investing and people needed to ask themselves what they were saving for, how much they wanted to save and in what time-frame and how much risk they were prepared to take on.

The website also includes information on getting financial advice and scams and warnings to watch out for.