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Parties support law change for managers

The government looks to have the support it needs to get a favourable law change for fund managers who have breached the exemption notice part of securities laws.

Wednesday, October 29th 2003, 6:19AM

by Rob Hosking

If passed, the law change will allow the dozen firms affected by the problem to seek relief in the courts. The government has already advertised for submissions on the law change, which will be tacked on to this year’s Business Law Reform Bill: the deadline for these is November 12.

Business Law Reform Bills are non-controversial “tidy-up” pieces of legislation that require the support of all parties in Parliament.

Most parties have thus far indicated their support. National is understood to have indicated it would like a debate on the issue - but that was before it became embroiled in a rather more impassioned internal debate.

The only possible hold out was New Zealand First, which has in the past raised objections to the whole business law reform bill process.

However the party’s commerce spokesman Dail Jones told Good Returns yesterday that the party would probably support the change.

“We’ve yet to finally decide - the New Zealand First caucus will consider the issue next Tuesday - but I have to say it looks like a reasonable solution to a very complex problem.”

As it stands the law would require the firms affected to refund the money invested with them, plus pay a 10% penalty for every year the money was invested, all for failing to file the required paperwork with the Companies Office.

The industry has argued that while there may be a need for some penalty, the one required by the current law is out of proportion to the crime.

The government has expressed concern that if the law is allowed to stand, offshore-based firms may be unwilling to offer securities in New Zealand.

Earlier story: Fund managers get relief

Rob Hosking is a Wellington-based freelance writer specialising in political, economic and IT related issues.

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