An Auckland man says he was left feeling frustrated after he waited a month after his 65th birthday to get his money paid out of KiwiSaver and was paid $1500 less than the account balance on that date.
Ross, who doesn't want his last name used, said his KiwiSaver provider, ANZ bank, was unable to tell him how much money he would get ahead of time and the exact date that it would be cashed up.
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The bank has apologised for the man's experience and said because it calculates the unit price of its KiwiSaver funds daily it can't tell applicants ahead of time exactly what they will get.
"To determine the value of a member's investment we calculate a unit price daily. The actual amount received may be different to the balance at the date members apply for a withdrawal because unit prices change over time, depending on how the market is performing."
Ross said he completed all the documentation to make a full withdrawal a month before his birthday on October 5.
"I just had this expectation that on my birthday I would get the money, but nothing."
Then he began to get nervous as the sharemarkets took a bit of a dip.
Ross contacted the bank to try and find out what date his final payment would be calculated on and how much he would be paid out.
"Nobody could tell me what the final calculation would be. I would have thought it would be the balance on my birthday. In the meantime the markets started going south a bit."
He went into a branch to try and get answers but they just referred him to the bank's 0800 number.
Ross said there was no proactivity from the bank. "I rang them three times to find out what was going on."
He was told it normally takes 10 working days for the money to be paid out but it had already been longer than that when he contacted them.
"It was just quite bizarre."
Eventually he got his money a month after his birthday and says it ended up being about $1500 less than the balance on his birthday. He had around $140k in his KiwiSaver account, which has now been closed.
He received a letter from the Inland Revenue Department about the account closure but nothing from the bank, which he has been with for 25 years. He had been a member of the ANZ's KiwiSaver scheme for nearly 10 years.
Ross said there would be a lot of people like him wanting to get their money out.
"I would have thought they would be doing all the checks in the month leading up to a birthday and to receive the money on the day, not a month later."
In the year to March 31, around 23,000 people took $1.04 billion out of KiwiSaver to use in retirement, although 114,000 over-65-year-olds remain in the scheme, according to the Financial Markets Authority annual KiwiSaver report.
An ANZ spokeswoman said it was sorry for what the man had gone through to get access to his KiwiSaver.
"We apologise to this member for the process he went through when making a retirement withdrawal from his KiwiSaver account."
It couldn't find out why the man had not received communication from the bank without having his personal details.
The spokeswoman said it typically sent letters to members wishing to withdraw their KiwiSaver funds a year ahead and six weeks ahead of when the person turned 65 and could access the money.
"Both letters outline the member's options at maturity - leave their savings in their KiwiSaver account, or make a partial or full withdrawal. We also encourage them to seek advice."
She said provided the bank had all the required information, including the completed forms, requests took up to 10 working days from the member's eligibility date.
"The letter six-weeks out also informs the member of their balance at the time of the letter."
Once a member met the eligibility criteria for a KiwiSaver retirement withdrawal and submits a request, it then contacted the member by text message and email.
"All members receive a final statement once the withdrawal is paid. This is generated and posted to the member two days after payment is made."
The spokeswoman said the member may have received less than the balance of his KiwiSaver account on his birthday due to fluctuations in the unit price.
"We again apologise the member did not have a positive customer experience and we are happy to investigate this further for him."
An IRD spokeswoman said eligible members wanting to withdraw their KiwiSaver savings, need to contact their scheme provider and tell them.
"There'll be various forms to sign including a statutory declaration that they were entitled to all Government Contributions (formerly Member Tax Credits) that they received during their membership.
"Once they have done this, the scheme provider will then process their withdrawal application."
She said the IRD could not comment on how long the process should take and the date of the final balance.
"If someone is concerned that they aren't being paid out the correct amount they should firstly talk with their scheme provider and if they're still unhappy after doing that they could contact the Financial Markets Authority (FMA)."