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More regulation coming

The current wave of regulation of the financial services sector is only the start, Securities Commission member Mai Chen says.

Friday, December 8th 2006, 6:52AM

by Rob Hosking

Chen, appearing on a panel at the Retirement Commission’s forum on financial literacy, says the new disclosure regulations for financial advisers included in the recently passed changes to the Securities Markets Act are only the start.

“There are new powers in [that law] and increased vigilance and enforcement from Securities Commission is on the way,” Chen says.

She also pointed to the Ministry of Economic Development’s nine discussion papers covering the entire financial sector, as well as further work stemming from the Task Force on Financial Intermediaries.

More will follow, she says.

“Regulation is very hard to get right, and where the has been little regulation in the past, as in this sector, it is particularly hard to get right starting from scratch. We’ve been talking about these issues for quite a long time now, and they’re being consulted to death at the moment.

“But be aware of this: it is very likely there will be further changes.”

Other panellists warned about over regulation. AXA chief executive Ralph Stewart warned of the need to get the right balance of “adequate levels of disclosure versus too much compliance costs.”

And Westpac chief executive Anne Sherry cited the Australian market as an example of over-regulation.

“In Australia it has become so complicated, and the amount of information people need to give customers is such they have ended up reading even less than they did before the new rules were introduced. It hasn’t resulted in better consumer protection.”

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

« Bollard holds rates steady but hawkishness exceeds expectationsSovereign takes regulation bull by the horns »

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