Kiwi advisers gain regulatory breathing space

The New Zealand Financial Services Council (NZ FSC) has welcomed signals from the NZ Government that it will slow legislative changes which would have impacted financial advisers until after COVID-19 has been dealt with. 

Just hours after the NZ Government announced the national shutdown, the NZ FSC commended it for its collaborative approach to ensuring that the financial services industry can manage through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The NZ approach comes as the Australian Parliament rose until at least late August after dealing with the COVID-19 economic stimulus package but with a number of legislative measures impacting advisers still on the notice paper. 

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“This is one of the most challenging situations to face our country in a generation, and the Government from the Prime Minister down has shown strong and decisive leadership in responding to it,” NZ FSC chief executive, Richard Klipin said. 

“From an industry perspective it is reassuring that the Government is listening and moving with pace to address pressure points and ensure clarity and certainty for New Zealanders,” he said. 

“Collectively we have agreed that a priority needs to be for the financial services legislative programme and agenda to be reassessed and a new timetable established once we come through the immediate COVID-19 challenges,” Klipin said. “This will allow the industry to focus 100% on supporting staff and customers through this difficult period. 

“We have had a number of constructive discussions over the past week with Government and regulators, and would like to thank Minister Faafoi and officials for their proactive engagement with the sector. 

“Discussions are ongoing but broad indications from Government are that for financial services legislation including Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act 2019 and Conduct of Financial Institutions amongst others, the direction of travel will slow as the government focuses on COVID-19,” Klipin said.  

“There has been a number of announcements already by regulators extending regulation deadlines over the past week, as well as an extension for submissions on the Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Bill by the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. 

“Although details still need to be confirmed the approach being taken by Government is positive. Freeing up industry resources through postponing legislative and regulatory change will have a positive impact on consumers. 

“Banks, insurers and other financial institutions are deemed essential businesses, and as such our members can focus all their resources on serving New Zealand, ensuring that customers get the additional support they need in these unprecedented times.” 

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