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Commerce Committee adopts QFE extension despite misgivings

Parliament's Commerce Committee has recommended the government adopt the proposed extensions to the qualifying financial entity (QFE) regime, despite chairman Lianne Dalziel last month voicing her misgivings about the regime.

Friday, June 11th 2010, 2:59PM

by Paul McBeth

The committee has recommended the government adopt change that would allow groups of firms to operate under the umbrella of a single QFE, so employees of that group could "provide advice under that umbrella without each entity requiring QFE status." During oral submissions in May, Dalziel said she had "very real doubts" about these extensions, saying "we shouldn't be moving away from what we want to protect." To help counter this, the committee supports assessing QFEs' "capacity to ensure adequate consumer protection outcomes take account" of the "robust internal procedures" the groups will have to have.

The report also recommends one company take a lead role in these umbrella groups, to help support the Securities Commission more effectively use its powers against a group when a breach occurred. The committee proposes two QFE groups be allowed to share some entities to provide additional flexibility, "provided control could be demonstrated effectively by both."

To help facilitate the group QFE model, the committee says employees or nominated representatives should be able to give advice on a product issued or promoted by another entity within the group, though it did not support allowing advisers to be nominated representatives of more than one QFE.

The changes will probably help keep a lid on the number of QFEs to be registered, after the Securities Commission predicted there could be as many as 200 such entities depending on the outcome of the committee's report.

 

Paul is a staff writer for Good Returns based in Wellington.

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