Page last updated: 21 July 2022

Regulatory approach

We supervise and monitor market participants in line with our statutory objectives. Where we see misconduct in financial markets, we seek to hold those responsible to account. These pages provide you more information on our regulatory and enforcement approach.


Compliance pill image

The following principles underpin our regulatory approach and guide our regulatory decisions.

  • Intelligence-led and harm-based. We are a risk-based regulator which means we identify and focus our efforts on areas of greatest harm for consumers and financial markets.
  • Outcome-focused. We focus our resources on where we have the greatest opportunity of achieving desired outcomes and reducing harm. We consider the most appropriate action for each situation, recognising the limits of our powers, and considering regulatory burden.
  • Effective and efficient. We regularly review the use of our resources to enhance our effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Consistent and transparent. We clearly communicate our intentions and expectations to market participants, and explain our actions.
  • Flexible and responsive. We have an operating model that enables us to adapt and respond quickly to changing market conditions. We seek and act on feedback, and learn from our experiences.
  • A systems view. We promote an integrated and coordinated approach to financial markets regulation in New Zealand. The FMA is a member of the Council of Financial Regulators (CoFR), together with the RBNZ, MBIE, Treasury and the Commerce Commission. CoFR provides a forum for a continuous, forward-looking focus on system risks and regulatory coordination by members.


Below is information about the types of financial services and products we regulate.

 Direct regulatory relationship

Other level of regulation/oversight



Trading venues (eg financial product markets such as NZX)

Wholesale funds

Alternative capital raising (eg peer-to-peer and crowdfunding)



Retail platforms and aggregators

Market infrastructure (eg settlement systems)

Life insurance

Retail funds, KiwiSaver, superannuation etc

Non-life insurance

Supervisors and licensed independent trustees


  • Deposit taking
  • Payment services
  • Mortgages
  • Overdrafts
  • Credit cards
  • Personal loans

Discretionary investment management services (DIMS)

Financial Advice Providers (FAPs)

Derivatives issuers

When interpreting our statutory objectives we consider:

  • Fair to mean providers and participants acting fairly, professionally and with integrity, focusing on (see below).
  • Efficient to mean dynamic and accessible markets that facilitate growth and innovation.
  • Transparent to mean investors and customers get the clear, concise and effective information they need to make informed decisions.

We also want to see capable and engaged investors and customers operating in those markets.

We expect all market participants to act fairly and professionally, and be committed to pursuing the objectives and spirit of regulation rather than just the letter of the law. We expect financial service providers to engage openly, honestly and proactively with us.

Fair, efficient and transparent financial markets will promote high levels of trust and confidence. Markets will be effective in matching investors with those that need capital and New Zealanders will be able to access quality advice, investment management and other financial services they need.

Effective financial markets are central to supporting the four capitals of the Treasury’s living standards framework and to the broader Government’s economic strategy of improving the wellbeing and living standards of New Zealanders through sustainable and inclusive growth.

Conduct: read more about our expectations for market participants

We supervise and monitor licensed market participants in line with the FMA’s overarching statutory objective to promote and facilitate the development of fair, efficient and transparent markets.  Our supervision activity – where we monitor adherence to regulatory and legislative requirements by financial market participants – is integral to this outcome.


The FMA’s supervision activities include the following:

  • Licensing – assessing applications from new and existing market participants seeking to obtain or vary a licence or other regulatory authorisation.
  • Monitoring – reviewing and assessing the compliance, competency and conduct of financial market participants.
  • Market engagement – maintaining close relationships with financial market participants through our stakeholder relationship management programme, participation in operational meetings with market participants and representing FMA at external forums and conferences.
  • Other activities – issuing guidance to the market, taking regulatory action in relation to non-compliance, work to support the introduction of new legislation, and interacting with other regulators in New Zealand and overseas.


We take a risk-based approach to monitoring so we focus our activity where we have the greatest opportunity of reducing harm to investors. This means we actively monitor only a portion of our regulated population in any given year.

We share key findings from our monitoring with the entire sector, highlighting areas where we have seen conduct and compliance that falls short of our expectations, and provide guidance on how all entities can improve in these areas. 

Learn more about our compliance approach and monitoring activity

Where the FMA sees misconduct in financial markets, we seek to hold those responsible to account, and to deter others from engaging in misconduct.

Read more about our policy and practice

Enforcement activity

FMA files proceedings against Medical Assurance Society over fair dealing provision breaches
FMA has filed High Court proceedings against Medical Assurance Society New Zealand Limited (MAS) and its subsidiaries for fair dealing breaches under ...
FMA files criminal charges against Yuen Pok (Paul) Loo
FMA has filed criminal charges against Yuen Pok (Paul) Loo following offences under financial markets legislation.
FMA censures Aurora Financial Group Limited for misleading clients
FMA has censured Aurora Financial Group Limited (Aurora Financial) for misleading existing and potential clients about KiwiSaver returns.
Two individuals found to have breached market manipulation prohibitions and disclosure obligations
Media release announcing High Court judgment in relation to FMA vs Wei (Walker) Zhong and Lei (Regina) Ding market manipulation of Oceania Natural Lim ...
FMA issues formal warning to Vanguard
We have issued a formal warning to Vanguard Investments Australia Limited (Vanguard), for failing to lodge a required notice on the New Zealand Comp ...
FMA warns Du Val Capital Partners Limited over misleading or deceptive statements to investors in the Du Val Mortgage Fund
The FMA has warned Du Val Capital Partners Limited (DVCP), the general partner of the Du Val Mortgage Fund Limited Partnership (Du Val Mortgage Fund, ...