The Retirement Commissioner's role was established under the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001. The Commissioner is appointed by the Minister of Commerce.
Diane Maxwell is the Retirement Commissioner and heads the Commission for Financial Capability. The Commissioner's term of office is for three years from 1 July 2013.
The previous Retirement Commissioner, Diana Crossan, was appointed in February 2003 and stepped down from the role in January 2013.
About Diane Maxwell
Diane Maxwell was appointed Retirement Commissioner in June 2013 for a three-year term. Her previous role was Head of Stakeholder Management at the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), where she worked on the role of regulation locally and globally post-GFC; and the relationship between compliance, regulation, informed investors, improved disclosure and product innovation.
Prior to her role at the FMA, Diane was Head of Brand and Corporate Affairs at BNZ, overseeing media and government relations, complaints, sustainability, events, marketing and sponsorship. During that time she worked on financial literacy and responsible lending, alongside privacy breaches, product development, and legislative and compliance changes including FAA, AML, review of CCCFA, Securities Act and consumer law.
Previous roles have included Partner at Michaelides and Bednash in London, Media Director at Saatchi and Saatchi NZ, and trans-Tasman consultant delivering research and analysis for the banking, media and telecommunications sectors.
Diane has been a weekly contributor on New Zealand radio and on BBC Radio 5 in the United Kingdom on consumer trends, and is an experienced public speaker.
Under legal mandate, the Retirement Commissioner is required to fulfil the relevant functions and requirements of the New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 and certain functions under the Retirement Villages Act 2003:
- Leading and coordinating of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy to improve the financial capability of New Zealanders
- Reviewing and reporting to the Minister of Commerce every three years on the retirement income policies implemented by government
- Monitoring the effects of retirement villages legislation, administering the retirement village disputes process and appointing members to disputes panels as vacancies arise
Financial capability role
One of the key roles of the Retirement Commissioner is to lift the financial capability of all New Zealanders aged 5 to 105. The Commission was instrumental in the development of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy.
Retirement income policy review and advisory role
The Commissioner is also responsible for providing advice to government on New Zealand's retirement income policies, including undertaking a major review of policy every three years. The most recent review report was released in 2013. Diane is often quoted and interviewed by the media on current issues such as the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation.
Read more about retirement income policy reviews.
Retirement villages functions
The Commissioner has advisory, monitoring and education functions relating to retirement villages legislation. Since the Christchurch earthquakes, the Commissioner has consulted stakeholders and provided advice to the Minister of Building and Construction on proposed variations to the Code of Practice 2008 to clarify operator and resident obligations in the wake of such major events.
The Commissioner's role includes administering the disputes process and appointing disputes panel members.
Read more about the Commissioner's retirement villages role.