Financial Regulation

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Understanding your business

Our team provides advice on all aspects of financial regulation in New Zealand to help our clients understand the rules and minimise the risk of regulatory intervention into their business. Our focus is on the commercial objectives of our clients, helping to get the regulatory framework to work for them, not against them.

We have close relationships with supervisors and regulators. We are tuned into international developments and the effect offshore regulation can have on our markets.

Banking, Deposit-Taking & Insurance Supervision

Banks, non-bank deposit takers and insurers are subject to prudential supervision by the Reserve Bank. We have extensive experience in this area, advising banks, non-bank deposit takers and insurers on all aspects of prudential regulation and their relationship with the Reserve Bank.

Our experience includes advising:

  • banks and insurers on compliance with capital adequacy frameworks and solvency standards;
  • NZBA on the application of the Australian Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) to New Zealand banks;
  • NZBA on the Reserve Bank's dashboard approach to quarterly disclosure;
  • Kiwibank on regulatory issues arising out of a change in its shareholders;
  • CBA on the regulatory issues arising out of its sale of Sovereign (a licensed insurer);
  • ANZ on the regulatory issues arising out of its sale of UDC Finance (a licensed NBDT); and
  • non-bank deposit takers on licensing applications under the Non-Bank Deposit Takers Act.

Financial Markets & Conduct

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) regulates New Zealand's securities markets and the conduct in these markets. We advise on conduct rules (including insider trading, market manipulation and continuous disclosure), financial reporting, licencing requirements and compliance with NZX listing rules. 

Our experience includes:

  • Advising issuers, including listed and unlisted fund managers, on ongoing disclosure obligations under the Financial Markets Conduct Act and NZX listing rules;
  • Assisting banks and fund managers to obtain discretionary investment management services licences. Acting for companies subject to investigation and enforcement action by the FMA and NZX; and
  • Advising clients on dealing with requests for information and attending interviews with regulators.

Financial Advisers & Financial Service Providers

The FMA regulates the provision of advice by financial advisers and the registration of financial service providers and proposals are currently underway to overhaul the financial advisers regime. We advise on disclosure and conduct obligations, discretionary investment management services, obligations applying to brokers and custodians, and registration requirements.

Our experience includes advising:

  • custodians and brokers on their custodial obligations and duties;
  • New Zealand and overseas fund managers on the provision of retail and wholesale financial services in New Zealand; and
  • New Zealand banks, fund managers and issuers on AFA and QFE obligations and duties.

AML, CFT & Sanctions

The Reserve Bank, the Financial Markets Authority and Department of Internal Affairs are the three AML/CFT supervisors in New Zealand. We advise reporting entities on all aspects of the AML/CFT Act and sanctions and regularly draft and review AML compliance programmes.

Our experience includes:

  • Obtaining conditional waivers from the Reserve Bank for bank clients in respect of CDD obligations for quoted debt issues;
  • Advising NZBA on proposed exemptions in respect of CDD obligations for quoted debt issues;
  • Leading initiatives seeking to obtain class exemptions across a range of industries including the banking, listed unit trust and energy sectors;
  • Acting for clients subject to investigations for alleged breaches of AML/CFT and sanctions legislation; and
  • Assisting clients with remediation and reporting issues arising out of AML/CFT audits.

Credit Contracts & Consumer Finance

The Commerce Commission is responsible for promoting compliance with New Zealand's credit contracts and consumer finance regime. We have market-leading experience advising credit providers on issues relating to this regime, in relation to the provision of both credit and insurance products. 

Our experience includes:

  • Advising on all aspects of compliance with the credit contracts and consumer finance regime, including disclosure statements; and
  • Acting for creditors in investigations and enforcement proceedings.

Information Requests & Investigations

New Zealand financial regulators all have statutory powers to request information and commence investigations. We have the experience and procedures in place to urgently and appropriately assist with information requests and investigations, including to try and minimise the risk of reputational and enforcement action.

Our experience includes:

  • Acting for companies subject to investigation and enforcement action by New Zealand and offshore regulators;
  • Advising clients on complying with requests for information, search orders and "dawn raids";
  • Assisting clients attending interviews with regulators; and
  • Conducting internal investigations.
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