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Focus on conduct for 2019

Rob Everett, CE, FMA


This is the first FMA update of 2019. We decided to give everyone a breather for January, though we have started the year at pace and the Christmas break is distant memory for some. 

Our priority this year is continuing our focus on the way financial services firms interact with their customers. Last month saw the publication of the RBNZ/FMA examination of culture and conduct at New Zealand’s life insurers. By the end of March, banks will report back to us on the steps they have taken in response to the review findings we published in November.

The focus on banking and insurance by no means indicates that we have lessened our focus on other areas of financial services. The new legislative regime for financial advice comes to life this year, and the KiwiSaver default provider review being run by MBIE aligns with our focus on the fees and performance of KiwiSaver providers as a whole.

Healthy capital markets are a necessary part of New Zealand’s economic growth. In conjunction with the NZX, we recently announced an industry-led review of our capital markets, ‘Capital Markets 2029’, which is chaired by Martin Stearne and designed to deliver a ten-year vision and growth agenda for the market. 

Not surprisingly, a few of us spent Waitangi Day immersed in the report from the Australian Royal Commission. There’s plenty in there for the industry and regulators to chew on, and we are considering the lessons to be learned from the report and events that led to it.

Wishing you all a healthy and productive 2019.

Rob Everett
Chief Executive

Will you need a licence to provide financial advice?

The proposed changes to how we regulate financial advice in New Zealand mean only those operating under licensed financial advice providers can give advice to retail clients.

If you are currently an authorised or registered financial adviser, you can choose whether you want to have your own licence, or operate under someone else’s.

To learn more and help you make your decision, read the first in our series of factsheets to prepare you for licensing under the new regime. If you have any questions about the proposed changes and what they mean for you, please contact or call us on 0800 434 567.


Recent updates, guidance and publications

Life Insurer Conduct and Culture

Last month, we published the findings of a joint review we undertook with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand into the conduct and culture of 16 New Zealand life insurers. This review follows our review of retail banks published in November 2018.

We found extensive weaknesses in life insurers’ systems and controls, with weak governance and management of conduct risks across the sector, and a lack of focus on good customer outcomes. While the review did not find widespread misconduct on the part of life insurers, there were several instances of poor conduct. The life insurers are due to report back to us by the end of June on the steps they have taken in response to our findings. Read the report.



Capital Markets 2029


An industry-led review of New Zealand’s capital markets has been initiated by NZX and the FMA. Called ‘Capital Markets 2029’, it’s designed to deliver a ten-year vision and growth agenda for the market. It will look at the current framework and regulatory settings of our capital markets, and outline recommendations for the creation of wider, more active participation and increased diversity of product. Capital markets in New Zealand have performed well in many areas, but there is always room to improve the ecosystem and help the market grow. Find out more


Asia Region Funds Passport is live

The Asia Region Funds Passport is now live. Japan, Thailand and Australia are able to process applications from local and foreign funds. New Zealand and Korea are making steady progress towards implementation. The passport will allow a managed fund based in one country to be offered more easily to investors in other participating countries. Currently, participating countries are New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Korea and Thailand. For further information see here.



Investors can now easily compare New Zealand investments


This week saw the launch of Smart Investor – a new tool by Sorted to allow users to easily compare funds and other investments, across a range of metrics including fees, performance and complete underlying holdings. We are one of three government agencies involved in building the tool, alongside MBIE and the Commission for Financial Capability (CFFC). The tool pulls information from the Disclose Register and is designed to increase confidence and awareness of the various investment options available to investors, leading to increased savings and investment for New Zealanders. Try out the tool now.

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FMA news

20 Ferbruary 2019Smart Investor tool launched to help Kiwis get ahead financially


29 January 2019 - FMA and RBNZ report on life insurer conduct and culture


24 January 2019 - NZX & FMA initiate industry review: Capital Markets 2029


18 December 2018 - Two men convicted on Crimes Act charges


17 December 2018 - Explaining fees and products key for consumers




Industry insights

Final Report 

Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry


Preparing for Brexit

Australian Securities and Investments Commission


Statement on disclosure of ESG matters by issuers

International Organization of Securities Commissions



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