Financial Service Providers & Financial Advisors Shake Up

Published by Vanessa Crosby on October 15, 2010

There have been fundamental changes to the way financial services are provided as a result of the Financial Advisors Act 2008 and Financial Service Providers (Registration & Dispute Resolution) Act 2008, both of which will be fully in force by July 2011.

These Acts were passed as a part of a package of regulatory reforms aimed, amongst other things, at producing a more sound and efficient financial sector and instilling public confidence in the sector thereby encouraging participation by consumers.

Whilst many believe the regime was rolled out in response to the spate of finance company collapses over the past couple of years (and no doubt these did have an effect on the detail of the Acts) in fact the new regime largely reflects New Zealand’s commitment to the work of the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) established in Paris in 1989.

One of the key recommendations of that task force was a requirement that countries have an effective registration system for financial service providers. There are negative repercussions for our international participation prospects if we fail to meet FATF requirements.

The latest step in this process has been the approval of the Code of Professional conduct for authorised financial advisors. This means the commissioner for financial advisors can now determine when the code comes into effect. This code establishes eighteen standards to ensure all authorised financial advisors meet the minimum standards for ethical behaviour, client care, knowledge, skills and competence and continuing professional development.

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