Transitional Licensing Deadline Under Review


The 29 June deadline for transitional licensing application may be delayed by the government following pressure from Financial Advice New Zealand and the Financial Services Council.

Financial Advice NZ’s CEO Katrina Shanks is among those who contacted Minister Kris Faafoi asking for a delay to the start of the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act.

“We’ve been working with the Minister’s office and officials to help them understand our concerns,” she said.

Shanks asked for a seven month delay to the transitional license deadline – that would take the deadline to October. MBIE is yet to officially confirm any change to the current 29 June deadline.

Katrina Shanks, CEO Financial Advice NZ.

Shanks says: “This morning the Government advised us there will be a delay, and they are working on announcing the details in the next few days.

“We all acknowledge the workload the Government is facing right now in these rapid changing times. It’s good to see that amongst this, financial advisers and the work we do is an important consideration.”

Shanks told the Minister that it is vital financial advisers are able to focus on providing professional services to their clients and supporting them through the implications of volatile markets, insurance support and advocacy without the distractions the licensing process entails.

Richard Klipin, CEO Financial Services Council, says: “We have had a number of constructive  discussions over the past week with Government and regulators, and would like to thank Minister Faafoi and officials for their proactive engagement with the sector.

Richard Klipin, CEO, Financial Services Council of New Zealand.
Richard Klipin, CEO, Financial Services Council of New Zealand.

“Discussion are ongoing, but broad indications from Government are that for financial services legislation including FSLAA and COFI amongst others, the direction of travel will slow as the government focuses on COVID-19.

“Although details still need to be confirmed the approach being taken by Government is positive. Freeing up industry resources through postponing legislative and regulatory change will have a positive impact on consumers.”

A spokesperson for the FMA says: “The FMA is aware the industry has put in a request to MBIE and the Minister – this being taken seriously…we expect an announcement from the Minister in due course.”

The Reserve Bank announced last week that it is to delay or slow down most of its regulatory initiatives for an initial period of six months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; but there was a question mark over the transitional licensing deadline.

The bank says the decision has been made to reduce the regulatory impost on financial institutions and free up both the Reserve Bank and industry resources to support the New Zealand economy.

The Council of Financial Regulators (COFR) says it has met to discuss what can be done to allow financial institutions to focus on their businesses and customers at such a disruptive time.

Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Geoff Bascand says the Reserve Bank and other agencies are working closely to help ensure that New Zealand’s financial markets operate smoothly.

“…It makes sense for regulators to free up financial institutions to focus on matters such as helping customers through financial or other stress, or increasing their degree of monitoring and managing their own most urgent risks,” says Bascand.

“Some regulatory initiatives require regular industry-wide workshops and these are not feasible at the moment.”