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Those with licences unlikely to have to undergo another licencing process: FMA

If the new government does bring in a single licencing system for the financial advice sector, it's unlikely to mean that those already holding licences will have to undergo another licencing process, Financial Markets Authority chief executive Samantha Barrass told Financial Advice New Zealand's Thrive conference in Wellington.

Friday, March 8th 2024, 6:35AM

by Jenny Ruth

Commerce minister Andrew Bayly had earlier told the conference that he was aware that some organisations held multiple licences and that he was looking at whether that could be streamlined into a single licence as part of his drive to streamline and simplify regulation of the financial services industry.

“I'm nervous about getting in front of the minister,” Barrass said, in answer to a question from outgoing interim FANZ chief executive Tony Dench.

“If you're already licenced to do a particular activity, the move to a single licence is unlikely to mean you having to go through another licencing process,” she said.

Nearly a year on from last year's deadline for financial advisers to gain Level 5 of the New Zealand Certificate in Financial Services, Barrass said that it was “the most successful transition I've witnessed in my career” and “a world-beater.”

The lessons the FMA has learned from working with the industry will be harnessed in its approach to bringing firms, particularly smaller firms, “across the line” for the Conduct of Financial Institutions regime (CoFi), she said.

Bayly has said that he is reviewing the CoFi legislation and that while he doesn't want to discard it, he wants to ensure its requirements are fit for purpose and to reinforce the principle that the responsibility for determining fair conduct lies with those applying for licences.

The FMA wants to ensure that “more New Zealanders than ever experience a financial sector that is working well for them,” Barrass said.

“It's fair to say the industry – and especially financial advisers – have been up against adversity and upheaval for a number of years with the covid pandemic followed by catastrophic climate-related events and the increased cost of living, making business for you and the life of your clients incredibly unsettling,” she said.

But the advice the industry provides plays a critical role in helping people manage their affairs and to make well-informed decisions.

“You are an essential ingredient to our mutual and shared goal of a resilient financial services sector where customers are treated fairly and with integrity. So, in reality, this uncertainty is part of the opportunity.”

Tags: FMA

« FANZ aims to be the voice and champion of financial advisersKernel launches NZ-first target maturity bond funds »

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