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FAQs

Find answers to common questions and who to get in touch with if we can’t help. Please check the information we provide in each section before contacting us – it may save you time. 

About the FMA
How to check if a business or individual is legitimate
What to do if you have a dispute with a provider
Credit - including hire purchase and debt
How can I get my money back?
How do I make a complaint? 
Can the FMA give legal or financial advice?
Questions about different financial products or services
Fraud or scams including FX firms
Whistleblowing
Updating your details on the FSPR
Licensing and compliance

 

About the FMA

What types of businesses or individuals does the FMA regulate?

We regulate a wide range of individuals and businesses. We license or authorise them so they can operate in New Zealand and we monitor their conduct. See our ‘What we do’ page for more information.

What types of businesses or individuals does the FMA not regulate?

We don’t regulate some professionals who offer financial services as they may be exempt or they may be regulated by an independent body such as:

Which businesses must be licensed or authorised by the FMA?

We publish lists of all the businesses and individuals that we have issued licences/authorisations to or who have been given a licence through an authorised agency.

What can I complain about to the FMA?

We deal with a range of complaints about our financial markets and the people who operate them. See our ‘What you can complain to us about’ page for more information.

What is the difference between the FMA and SFO?

The FMA enforces securities, financial reporting, and company law as they apply to financial services and securities markets. We also regulate securities exchanges, financial advisers and brokers, trustees and issuers - including issuers of KiwiSaver and superannuation schemes, auditors, managers of investment schemes, crowd funding platforms, peer-to-peer lending services, supervisors and derivatives issuers.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is a criminal law enforcement agency tasked with the investigation and prosecution of serious or complex fraud and financial crime.

What is the difference between the FMA and Commerce Commission?

See the question above for what we do.

The Commerce Commission is different from us because they enforce different laws – in particular the Fair Trading Act, the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act and the Commerce Act.

You can contact them about issues like:

  • anti-competitive behaviour – such as price fixing or bid rigging
  • consumer lending and credit contracts - such as hire purchase agreements or loans. You can find out more about what credit contracts are and how the law applies on their website.

IMPORTANT: New Zealand laws have changed. If your complaint is about misleading or deceptive conduct that occurred BEFORE 1 April 2014, please contact the Commerce Commission

If your complaint is about misleading or deceptive conduct for financial products or services that occurred AFTER 1 April 2014, please contact us.

Can you send me some of the brochures featured on your website?

As all the FMA brochures are available online, we no longer print and distribute these. Please go to our ‘Free resources’ page to select and download a print-quality brochure PDF.

 

How to check if a business is legitimate?

Can the FMA confirm if a company is legitimate?

We do not provide security or confirmations of legitimacy for any business or individual on the FSPR. We strongly suggest before investing any money that you:

See our ‘Become a smart investor’ guide for more information.

How do I check if a business is registered in New Zealand?

You can check whether or not a company is registered in New Zealand at the Companies Office. You can also find basic details about a company such as; names of directors, addresses, registered shareholders and financial statements there.

What is the Companies Office?

The Companies Office is the government agency responsible for administrating the register of companies in New Zealand. It administers a number of other business registers such as the Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR).

What is the FSPR?

The Financial Services Providers Register (FSPR) is an online register of the people, businesses, and organisations that offer financial services in or from New Zealand.

By law, any business or person providing financial services in or from New Zealand has to be registered and the company name or individual has to be listed on it. Some examples include financial advisers, finance companies, fund managers and foreign currency exchange dealers.
Businesses or individuals are only able to be registered on the FSPR if they are actually providing financial services from a place of business in New Zealand.

IMPORTANT: As part of the process, limited criminal checks are done on a business or individual who is applying to be added to the FSPR. No other checks or assessments are made. Be aware that being registered does not mean an authority (like the FMA) has licensed or approved them. There is no guarantee they are a fit and proper business or person and that they are currently operating in New Zealand.

What sort of information will the FSPR tell me?

The FSPR can help you:

  • obtain a business address
  • see the types of financial services the registered company, or individual, provides to customers. Some examples include; money transfers, investment management or financial advice 
  • see any licences or an authorisation status that the company or individual may have
  • see what dispute resolution scheme they belong to.

If a company is registered on the FSPR does the FMA regulate them?

Not necessarily. The numbers of businesses and individuals that we regulate have grown under the new laws but we don’t regulate everyone. See ‘Who we regulate’.

IMPORTANT: Just because someone is registered on the FSPR doesn’t mean they are licensed or regulated in New Zealand - or in any other country.

How do I know if my bank is safe?

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) registers banks, licenses insurers (insurance companies) and undertakes their prudential supervision – that means they monitor how stable and safe they are. You'll find further information on the RBNZ website.

How do I know if my insurance company is licensed?

Check the Reserve Bank of New Zealand website for a list of licensed insurance companies.

 

What to do if you have a dispute with a provider

Can the FMA help me resolve a dispute with my investment provider?

No, we cannot help you directly. All businesses who offer financial services must belong to an independent dispute resolution scheme.

Your provider must provide the name of their dispute resolution scheme in their disclosure documents, or you can search for it on the Financial Service Providers Register.

If you have a dispute with your financial service provider there are several ways you can address the problem:

  1. Raise the matter with the company or individual directly.
  2. Make a complaint to the company or individual using their complaint process – this should be described on their website or in documents they sent to you.
  3. Contact the dispute resolution scheme they are a member of to help resolve your problem. This service is free. They can give advice on how to make an effective complaint and may be able to assist you. However, ensure you should take your complaint to the business or individual as well.

What is a dispute resolution scheme (DRS)?

To register on the FSPR, all individuals or businesses that provide a financial service to customers must belong to a dispute resolution scheme. There are four approved dispute resolution schemes:

  1. Banking Ombudsman - investigates and resolves disputes between customers and their banks. The Banking Ombudsman also deals with complaints about a range of non-bank financial service providers.
  2. Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman - considers complaints against insurance and savings organisations and some other financial service providers that are members of its scheme.
  3. Financial Services Complaints Limited - considers complaints against financial service providers that are members of its scheme.
  4. Financial Dispute Resolution - (operated by FairWay Resolution) considers complaints against financial service providers that are members of its scheme.


Credit - including hire purchase and debt

I have a question about my credit card with a finance company.

Consumer Protection and the Commerce Commission have information about your rights when you use credit cards, store cards, buy goods or services on credit or get cash loans.

If you're worried about a loan you've got with a finance company, please contact the Commerce Commission.

We also suggest you seek legal advice. This is free from any Citizen Advice Bureau or Community Law Centre. Some help is available from budget services organisations such as Family Budgeting.

 

How can I get my money back?

Can the FMA get my money back?

No, we cannot help you to get your money back.

Whether you can get any money back depends on the type of investment you have and the financial status of the company or person you have invested in.

We suggest you seek legal advice from a lawyer to discuss your circumstances and work out your options.

If you have contacted their dispute resolution scheme provider and they are unable to help you, you can file a complaint with us; but we generally will not be able to assist you directly.

See our ‘Make a complaint’ page for more information on the range of complaints we can help with.

I've paid money to someone registered on the FSPR and now can't access my funds. Can the FMA help me get my money back?

Just because someone is registered on the FSPR does not mean they are licensed or regulated and you may not be able to get your money back.

If you have tried contacting them and used their dispute resolution scheme without success, you can make a complaint to us. We will not be able to help you get your money back if the company or individual is based overseas however; we can provide you with publicly available information about them, such as where they are registered and who their directors are from the Companies Office.

If the business is located in New Zealand, we may have more ability to help, however we cannot assist individual investors.


Can the FMA give legal or financial advice?

Can you give me financial advice?

We can’t give advice but general information about getting financial advice is available on our website. These pages explain the different types of advice available. There are also some useful tips to help you choose an adviser.

You can also find information on investing on Sorted.

Can you give me legal advice?

We do not provide legal advice. In most cases you will need to talk to a qualified legal adviser who can tell you how the law applies to you and your particular circumstances. For free advice contact a Citizens Advice Bureau or Community Law Centre.


Questions about financial products or services

Should I be switching my KiwiSaver?

Everyone’s personal situation is different. We can’t provide personal advice; however, Sorted’s FundFinder tool has some great information about the pros and cons of switching. A financial adviser will also be able to help you decide what’s best for you.

Where can I get information if I want to invest some money?

The consumer section of our website has lots of information about investing, including tips on setting investment goals, what we mean by investment risk and the different ways to invest. Sorted also has lots of great investment information and tools.

What is a Binary Option?

Binary options allow you to predict the short term movements in price of a share, commodity, currency or index. They often promise to make you money quickly, but you could lose your entire initial investment. The FMA doesn’t regulate binary options and consider them very high risk, even for experienced investors. See more about binary options.

Fraud or scams including FX firms

How do you know if an investment is a scam?

See our ‘How to spot an investment scam’ guide to learn some of the hallmarks of scams.

You can also check:

If the scam relates to an illegal investment offer or scheme you should also contact us.

You can also report any online incidents such as; scams, frauds, computer security, privacy breaches or suspicious spam messages to NetSafe.

Can the FMA tell me which businesses to avoid?

We publish an A-Z list of all the businesses and individuals we recommend investors be wary of.

I am worried about a foreign exchange (FX or Forex) company I have given money too. What shall I do?

FX fraud is a growing problem. The FMA recommends using only a licensed provider and avoid using overseas fx trading services not licensed by us – even if they appear to be regulated by an overseas authority.

You should be especially wary of forex trading ‘training’ and ‘tools’ that promise a particular product or technique that gives access to better exchange rates or easy money.

While software programmes and training courses can teach an investor how to make forex trades, no person or programme can ever accurately predict movement in foreign currencies.

See more about:

If you suspect fraud please contact us using our complaint online form.

What do I do if I think someone has stolen my identity?

You should contact the Police in the first instance.

 

Updating your details on the FSPR

 

How do I find my FSPR number/change my contact details on the register?

To find your details, visit the Companies Office website and type in your surname in the search box. This will bring up your details.

To change or update your details on the FSPR, you will need to log in to the Companies Office website using your RealMe login and password.

Click here to log in to the Companies Office website or here to find out more information about how to update your details.

 

Licensing and compliance

Can we come into speak to you on whether we need to be licensed/registered?

Our ‘Licensing and registration’ pages explain who needs to be licensed and/or registered. If you cannot find what you are looking for please email us at questions@fma.govt.nz

Can you give me legal advice on my business structure and if I comply?

We do not provide legal advice. In most cases you will need to talk to a qualified legal adviser who can tell you how the law applies to you and your particular business. We can help you though with your disclosure, financial reporting, licensing and other regulatory requirements.

Please look at our Compliance section or use our search function above to find what you are looking for. If you cannot find an answer, please email your question to us at questions@fma.govt.nz