Nearly a year after the Government said it would not reappoint former Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell it has yet to find a replacement.
Maxwell finished in the job at the end of June after being cleared of bullying allegations following an investigation that took six months.
While the report made a finding of no bullying, it did indicate that some previous staff had difficulty with Maxwell's communication style.
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Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi told media and Maxwell in November last year that she would not be reappointed for a third term.
He said two terms was a significant commitment and after two terms it was appropriate to go to the market to find a replacement.
But three months after Maxwell finished in the job Faafoi has still not named a replacement.
A spokesman for Faafoi said the appointment process could take time, especially for such an important and high-profile role as this.
"We want to be sure we appoint the right candidate for the role. We want someone with the right skills to provide leadership to improving New Zealanders' financial capability."
The spokesman said Faafoi expected to make an announcement in due course but did not give any timing on the announcement.
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The delay in appointment comes in a year in which the Retirement Commissioner is tasked with completing a three-yearly review of New Zealand's retirement income policy.
Peter Cordtz has stepped up from his role as general manager community at the Commission for Financial Capability to be interim Retirement Commissioner and will stay in the role until a new commissioner is appointed. The report is due to be presented to Parliament by December.
Faafoi's spokesman said Cordtz's appointment was providing continuity to the CFFC through the review.
Pushpa Wood, director of the Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre, said it was unfortunate the appointment process was taking a lot longer than the sector had expected.
"We were expecting an announcement around June/July period as the term for the commissioner ended on 30 June.
"I think a lack of communication to the financial capability sector is a bit unsettling."
Wood said it was particularly frustrating given 2019 was also the review year.
"Although the work on this is happening the lack of leadership is evident in this area."
Aaron Gilbert, head of the finance department at AUT, said the delay was unfortunate, especially given the timing of the review, but given the circumstances it was unavoidable.
"It is important that they find the right candidate given the challenges with KiwiSaver and retirement policy in general going forward so better they take the time and get it right."
The Retirement Commissioner is typically appointed for a three-year term, which means the changeover to a new commissioner will always land in the same year as the review.
Wood said it was time the appointment period/duration of the Retirement Commissioner, their area of responsibility and scope of the work was reviewed and updated.
"The financial capability sector and the needs of the demographics have changed with regard to financial wellbeing and especially the wellbeing of people in retirement. In addition, since the commission and the role of the commissioner was set up, the sector has changed dramatically."
She said there were many more national and regional-level organisations active in this area.
"Maybe it is time that the role of the commission and Retirement Commissioner is revised to better align with the needs of the nation and the sector."
The first Retirement Commissioner was appointed in 1995.
Wood said if the status of the commissioner was retained then at least the timing of the appointment should change to provide the incumbent sufficient time to be in the job before the retirement income policy review kicks in.
"Seeing we will now have a bulk of the work done prior to the appointment, it might be useful to ensure that the next Retirement Commissioner sees through the 2022 review before their term end."
Two candidates are seen to be in the front running for the Retirement Commissioner's role, which comes with a salary of about $300,000.
One is Massey University's Claire Matthews, who has specialised in being a retirement industry commentator in recent years as the director of academic quality for the university's business school.
The other is David Kneebone, who has been the general manager of Hong Kong's Investor and Financial Education Council — the New Zealand equivalent to the Retirement Commission.
Kneebone previously worked at the Commission for Financial Capability for eight years but left in 2014 to move to the Hong Kong-based job.
Matthews said she could not make any comments around the Retirement Commissioner role and Kneebone referred questions to Faafoi.
Kneebone confirmed he was returning to New Zealand and would be back in February.