Cabinet Approves Financial Adviser Regulations

Hon Simon Power, Minister of Commerce
23 March 2011

Cabinet has approved further regulations under the Financial Advisers Act 2008, Commerce Minister Simon Power announced today.

The regulations are designed to simplify implementation of the new financial adviser regime by providing greater certainty for industry as to the scope and obligations of the Financial Advisers Act, and will help minimise unnecessary compliance costs.

They provide technical detail in several areas. Specifically, they provide:

  • Definitions for a number of key terms in the Financial Advisers Act.
  • A voluntary authorisation procedure which enables registered advisers to gain a higher level of accreditation.
  • Fees which the Securities Commission may charge for considering exemption applications.
  • Permission for brokers to hold client funds on trust in overseas bank accounts, on the condition that the banking regulation in the overseas country provides similar levels of regulatory protection to that of New Zealand.
  • Exemptions for various categories of person from certain provisions of the Act.

Mr Power said he is sympathetic to the effect that the 22 February earthquake in Christchurch has had on the ability of financial advisers in the Canterbury area to comply with registration and authorisation deadlines of the financial adviser regime.

"I can announce that a three-month extension of each deadline is being considered as the most appropriate means of granting temporary relief.

"An announcement on the final shape of any regulatory relief package is due to be announced before 31 March."

Background

The Financial Advisers Act requires that all financial advisers be listed on a public register, and that those providing services to the public belong to an approved dispute resolution scheme. Authorised financial advisers will also be subject to a Code of Professional Conduct, which ensures they meet the minimum standards for ethical behaviour, client care, knowledge, skills and competence, and continuing professional development. Financial advisers have until 31 March to register and belong to an approved dispute resolution scheme.

The Act comes fully into force on 1 July, by which time all advisers seeking authorisation must have completed their training and have had their authorisation confirmed by the Securities Commission.

The regulations can be accessed here.

All Simon Power's media statements and speeches are at www.beehive.govt.nz/minister/simon+power