Code committee finally ‘legal’ but mystery surrounds new appointees

After operating unlawfully for the better part of a year, the Financial Advice Code Committee has two new members, bringing their number up to eight – one more than the statutory minimum.

Friday, June 17th 2022, 7:30AM 6 Comments

by Jenni McManus

But who these two new members are remains a mystery. While Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark says the new appointees took up their roles in mid-April, the committee’s website has not been updated to include their names. Nor has there been any announcement from the minister’s office.

Under clause 26 of schedule 5 of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013, the committee must have no fewer than seven members, two of whom must be consumer affairs representatives or skilled in dispute resolution.

Concerns were raised in March this year that the committee was operating unlawfully with only six, rather than seven, appointees and with only one consumer affairs/dispute resolution member.

At the time, committee chairman Angus Dale-Jones said he understood the matter was going through “normal government recruitment processes”. The situation would be more worrying if the committee was considering changes to the code but that wasn’t the case, he said.

The problem arose in July 2021 when three committee members, including one of the two consumer affairs/dispute resolution representatives, came to the end of their terms.

The two new appointments bring the committee numbers up to eight. But two of the current members reach the end of their terms on 31 July this year, meaning Clark must appoint one more member if the committee is to operate lawfully after that date.

In March this year, a senior adviser wrote to Clark, pointing out that as minister he was required by law to appoint at least one new member. The adviser received a response from Clark dated 31 May, saying the appointments had been made.

He blamed the delay on the impact of covid-19 on the government’s work program and appointments processes.

Clark also said that one of the two new appointees has the required expertise in consumer affairs/dispute resolution. He acknowledged that since the three committee members stood down in July 2021 there had been a gap in this area.

The committee was set up as an independent body in 2017 to develop a code of professional conduct for the financial advice sector. This was completed and approved by the minister in 2019 and the committee has an ongoing monitoring role.

Tags: David Clark

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Comments from our readers

On 17 June 2022 at 12:18 pm w k said:
i hope it's a totally new committee from the chairman.
keeping the same people is like what this quote says "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result each time"

unless there is no intention of cleaning up the mess created by code committee in the first place.
On 18 June 2022 at 9:11 am John Milner said:
Do tell us more w k. I’d be interested to hear what mess was created.

Apart from a faux pas with membership numbers, which was nothing short of ironic for a code committee, breaking the law, I have experienced a much shorter and manageable code.
On 21 June 2022 at 10:19 am w k said:
@JM: with your enormous experience and qualifications, i think there's no need to explain.
On 21 June 2022 at 10:20 am Amused said:
A timely article as I see this morning that The Reserve Bank is currently having to defend its appointment of a board member who also holds a governance role at one of the big five banks.

Rodger Finlay, chairman of NZ Post, which has a stake in Kiwibank, has been appointed to the board of the Reserve Bank which from July 1 will take on more responsibility for carrying out the central bank’s responsibilities.

Finlay has been appointed by the Minister of Finance when he is also chair of NZ Post, which is the majority owner of the fifth-biggest bank in New Zealand.

Having Finlay in both a central bank role and a governance role at a major bank would seem to be highly inappropriate and have the potential for a conflict of interest arising.
On 21 June 2022 at 10:49 am LNF said:
Nothing new. March 2022 cut and paste "An independent review published today says a conflict of interest held by former chief executive Rob Everett was not properly disclosed.

Everett’s wife’s sister’s husband is Gary Scott, who is chief financial officer at Booster. Booster was one of the incumbent default KiwiSaver providers and retained that status after the review."
On 21 June 2022 at 3:14 pm valkyrie6 said:
As a taxpayer I assume that Mr Finlay has completed a full disclosure under the FMA rules and regulations as per “’the fit and proper persons “as a company Director and at least answered one of the many basic questions as follows that all inspiring FAP license holders have to answer…..

Relevant parties:
Do you act jointly or in concert with any individual or organisation? or do you act, or are accustomed to acting in accordance with the wishes of another individual or organisation? or is there any other individual or organisation who is able, directly, or indirectly, to exert a substantial degree of influence over your activities? Answer: Yes/No If yes, please provide details of each relevant party (If an individual, their full legal name, date of birth and gender If an entity, their full legal business name.) FSP No. (if applicable) NZBN (if applicable).

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