Financial services regulation

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With complex and evolving regulation, the financial services sector faces huge compliance challenges. Our expert guidance lets you get on with business.

We advise clients on financial services and regulatory compliance, including:

  • The regulatory regimes created by the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMCA), the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT), and the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008
  • The prudential regimes for banks and non-bank deposit takers under the Banking (Prudential Supervision) Act 1989, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 2021 and the Non-Bank Deposit Takers Act 2013, and for life insurers and other insurance companies under the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2010. 

We assist leading commercial banks, as well as a wide range of financial service businesses (big and small) in New Zealand and those looking to enter the New Zealand market. 

FMCA Roadmap

The Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMCA) was a once-in-a-generation re-writing of New Zealand’s securities law and resulted in a consolidated regime to improve financial markets conduct and restore investor confidence.

Our FMCA Roadmap outlines the current regime, incorporating financial advice reforms effective 15 March 2021 – and is a helpful navigation tool for the financial service sector.

The MinterEllisonRuddWatts team has a market leading reputation in the financial services space in New Zealand, and we trust that their excellent technical advice, coupled with their commercial market insights will result in the best outcome for us.The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022

Recent highlights
Advising a major bank on AML/CFT Compliance

Advising a major New Zealand bank on a range of compliance issues for its AML/CFT obligations including advice on its prescribed transaction reporting obligations and international payments assisting with preparations for an onsite RBNZ review, assisting with resolution of issues with the RBNZ. Also advised on potential implications of offshore litigation involving a related entity for AML/CFT breaches in that jurisdiction.

FMA inquiry into Sharesies Limited

Advising Sharesies Limited, a major broking platform, in relation to the FMA’s notice of intention to issue a formal warning under the AML/CFT Act, including supporting it through its engagement with the FMA, providing extensive advice on technical compliance with the AML/CFT Act, and developing a remediation plan. Representing Sharesies Limited in a hearing with the FMA, and negotiating the terms of the formal warning to accurately reflect the outcome (which was much narrower than the original allegation).

Transitioning Westpac, TSB Bank and others to the new financial adviser regime

Assisting Westpac and TSB Bank (and others, including four insurers, and several adviser and fund manager businesses) with the transition of their financial advice services under the new Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act adviser regime, including strategic advice on their obligations, licensing, and training requirements. The work in each case also involved significant engagement with the FMA as regulator.

Governance, reputational and litigation risk in Environmental and Social Policy

Advising a major New Zealand financial institution on the corporate governance and disclosure risk inherent in the commitments made in its proposed Environmental and Social Policy. Advice included the adequacy of processes to manage that risk, including potential ‘greenwashing’ claims by regulators or activists if representations are unsubstantiated or insufficiently supported by internal processes and procedures.

Digital Identity NZ’s AML/CFT report

Assisting Digital Identity NZ (a New Zealand Tech Alliance member) with the preparation of its influential report: “The reliance and reuse of identity verification for AML/CFT purposes” including provision of all the legal content. This involved extensive engagement with the Ministry of Justice, Reserve Bank, Financial Markets Authority and Department of Internal Affairs, as well as leading banks and digital technology providers.  

Advising various entities regarding Trusts Act requirements

Assisting a range of financial service providers (including Milford, Westpac, and Generate) with changes required to managed investment scheme governing documents in light of the Trusts Act 2019 (with the Act largely coming into force in January 2021). This included providing advice regarding how the Trusts Act interacts with the governance provisions in the FMCA.