Page last updated: 30 April 2021

Independent trustees

Every restricted managed investment scheme must have at least one licensed independent trustee. They must meet the definition of independent in the Act (section 131)

You'll need a licence if you are appointed as an independent trustee of a restricted KiwiSaver scheme or a workplace superannuation or legacy scheme.

Independent trustees

For applicants

SD1.0  Certificate of compliance and authority to apply (applicant or their authorised person)

SD1.1  Declaration by current/proposed director of licence applicant

SD1.2  Declaration by current/proposed senior manager of licence applicant

SD1.3  Curriculum vitae of management team member of licence applicant

SD1.4  Declaration  by Independent trustee (individual) -  a combined certificate and declaration

For related bodies of the applicant

SD2.1  Declaration by executive director of related body to licence applicant

SD2.2  Declaration by senior manager of related body to licence applicant

For relevant parties to the applicant

SD3.1  Declaration by director of relevant party to licence applicant

SD3.2  Declaration by senior manager of relevant party to licence applicant

SD3.3  Declaration by individual relevant party to licence applicant (such as owner)

The Financial Markets Authority (Levies) Regulations 2012 (the Regulations), as amended in 2020, set out the levies payable by industry. The levies are set by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE).

The FMA receives funding from the Crown and a proportion of our costs is recouped from industry through levies.

Levy Classes

A financial markets participant falls within one or more levy ’class’, depending on what financial services they provide.

  • A levy must be paid for every levy class the financial markets participant falls within. Levies are payable on the relevant leviable event as described in column 3 of Schedule 2 in the Regulations.
  • Some levy classes have been split in order to recognise the variations in size and nature of different financial market participants.
  • Most levies are paid when making an annual confirmation to the Registrar of Financial Service Providers (the Registrar).
  • Most levies are payable to the Registrar, via the (FSPR). However, some levies are payable directly to the FMA. This is set out in column 4 of Schedule 2 in the Regulations.
  • The following levy classes are invoiced directly by the FMA:
  • Levy Class 8, Levy Class 8A, Levy Class 10, Levy Class 10A and Levy Class 13.

The table below (see levy class description) provides a high-level description of each levy class. For the full 

description of levy classes, see Schedule 2 in the Regulations. 

Levy Class description

The table below provides a high-level description of each levy class. For the full description of levy classes, see Schedule 2 in the Regulations. 

Class Description
1 Persons making an application for registration on the   Financial Service Providers Register
2 Registered banks and licensed non-bank deposit takers
3 Licensed insurers
4 Licensed supervisors of debt securities and managed   investment products in registered schemes
5 Managers (of registered schemes)
6 Persons who undertook trading activities on licensed markets, contributory mortgage brokers, trading financial products or foreign exchange on behalf of other persons (other than persons included in class 6A, 6B, 6C or 6D, authorised bodies that only provide the service under a market services licence held by a person in class 6A or 6D and DIMS wholesale providers) or licensed derivatives issuers
6A Licensed discretionary investment management service (DIMS) retail providers
6B Providers of a regulated client money or property service (as defined in section 6(1) of the FMC Act) other than persons included in class 6(a) or 6C
6C Custodians and persons providing custodial   services
6D Crowdfunding service providers and peer-to-peer lending   service providers
6E Licensed financial benchmark administrators
6F Authorised bodies
6G Financial advisers
6H Licensed financial advice providers
7 All other financial service providers that are not included in any of classes 2 – 6H
8 Listed issuers (other than persons included in class 8A)
8A Small listed issuers
9 Lodgement of a product disclosure statement (PDS)
10 Licensed market operators
10A Licensed market operators that operate growth markets (other than persons included in class 10)
11 FMC reporting entities that lodge financial statements (or   group financial statements) and auditor’s reports
12 Accredited bodies
13 Licensed overseas auditors
14 Persons that apply for registration or incorporation under the Building Societies Act 1965; the Companies Act 1993; the Friendly   Societies and Credit Unions Act 1982; or the Limited Partnerships Act 2008
15 Persons that are registered or incorporated and required   to make annual returns under the Building Societies Act 1965; the Companies   Act 1993; the Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Act 1982; or the Limited   Partnerships Act 2008

Offences

It is the responsibility of each financial service provider to ensure they are registered for the service(s) they provide and have paid the appropriate levies. As part of their online annual confirmation to the Registrar, they must select all of the applicable classes to determine the levies payable and confirm the information they have provided is true, correct and complete.

Under the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008 (the FSP Act) it is an offence to:

  • provide services you are not registered for or state you are registered for a particular financial service when you are not
  • make a representation relating to any document or information required by the FSP Act or its regulations knowing that it is false or misleading, or omit any matter knowing such omission is false or misleading.

These offences could result in a fine of up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment for individuals, and a fine of up to $300,000 for businesses.

It is also an offence under the FSP Act to fail to notify the Registrar if any of the details contained on the FSPR are no longer correct. Failure to notify could result in a fine of up to $10,000.

Levy waivers

We have discretionary power to waive a levy (in whole or part).

We will only do so if we are satisfied that the circumstances or characteristics of the financial markets participant are exceptional when compared with the circumstances or characteristics of others in the same class, so that it would make it inequitable for the person to pay the levy. The threshold is deliberately high.

The waiver power is not intended to be used to revisit settled policy positions.

Once we receive a waiver application and the fee, we will assess it.  If we decide to grant the waiver, we must notify our decision in the Gazette, and publish the decision and reasons for it on our website.

How to apply for a levy to be waived

You will need to email the following information to [email protected] with the subject line ‘Levy waiver application’.

  • Name of person or entity applying for the waiver.
  • Contact person for correspondence concerning the application including address, phone number and email.
  • Indicate the persons/entity who will receive the benefit of any waiver granted.
  • Specify which class(es) you seek a waiver from and whether a waiver is sought from the full levy or part and the amount thereof.
  • Let us know your preferred date for any waiver to take effect.
  • Explain why the waiver should be granted and why your circumstances are exceptional when compared with others in the same class.
  • Provide all relevant facts in support of your application.
  • Explain any regulatory benefit of FMA granting the waiver.
  • Give details of any previous contact with officials (including their names) at FMA or MBIE (including the Companies Office) on the matter.

How to pay your waiver application fee

You can pay by electronic deposit or internet banking. Payment can be made by applicants or law firms making applications on behalf of their clients.

The person paying the application fee must be the person who pays the subsequent fees and costs. For example, if a law firm pays the application fee, that law firm must also pay any additional fees and costs.

We recommend if law firms apply for waivers on behalf of their clients, the parties discuss and agree who will be responsible for paying the FMA’s fees before submitting a waiver application.

Payment option How to pay Additional information
Electronic deposit or internet banking Where bill pay is available please select ‘Financial Markets Authority - Other'
Otherwise, our bank details are:
Bank: Westpac
Account name: Financial Markets Authority
Account number: 03-0584-0198005-000
To ensure we process your payment correctly please provide the following information:
Particulars: Payer’s name*
Code: Waiver
Reference: Applicant’s name
You do not need to forward a hard copy of your application if paying electronically

* This is the name of the person paying the application fee. This person will be invoiced for any subsequent fees and costs. Payment by credit card is not available for this application process.

What are the fees

  • A payment of $1,265 should accompany each application.
  • This covers the application fee of $115 set out in the Financial Markets Authority (Fees) Regulations 2011 and an advance of $1,150 (including GST) for fees and costs to be incurred.
  • These regulations set out charging rates of $230 (including GST) per hour for time spent by FMA Board members and $178.25 (including GST) per hour for time spent by FMA staff.
  • These regulations are set by MBIE.

How long does it take

  • Once we have been provided with all relevant information, it generally takes around six weeks to process an application.
  • This may be longer if any policy questions arise.
  • If your application is urgent, please provide the date you need the decision by.
  • You must also provide reasons for requesting urgent consideration.

All licensed trustees have a number of obligations, in addition to the minimum standards and standard conditions set out in their licence. These obligations include meeting the relevant professional standard of care; monitoring your compliance; identifying material changes of circumstances; meeting reporting obligations and notifying the FMA of certain events and providing us with information. A list of your obligations can be viewed below:

Changes to directors or senior managers

Forms for amendments and changes to be completed if there are changes to directors or senior managers

It is a standard condition of licensing for independent trustees (corporates) to notify the FMA of changes to directors or senior managers of a licensee and/or key personnel of an authorised body. To notify us of a change to your key people and managers as required by the licensing standard conditions, please send an email to [email protected] outlining what the changes are and the qualifications and experience of the new or replacing personnel, e.g. attach their c.v.

Download Notification of change of director or senior manager by licensee and/or key personnel of authorised body DOC( Refer to the FMC Regulations 2014 r 191191).

Minimum standards

To become a licensed independent trustee you’ll have to meet and maintain certain minimum standards.

The key standards in the Act (section 396) include:

  • You must be a fit and proper person for the role of independent trustee.
  • You or your business must be capable of performing the service effectively and in keeping with your licence conditions.
  • We must have no reason to think you’re likely to contravene your licensee obligations.

There are other important requirements. You can find out more about the minimum licensing standards and conditions in our licensing guide.

Fair Dealing

The FMC Act sets out minimum compliance standards of behaviour for people operating in the financial markets. It prohibits:

  • misleading or deceptive conduct
  • false, misleading or unsubstantiated representations
  • offers of financial products in the course of unsolicited meetings.

Read more about the Financial markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMC Act)

Standard Conditions for individuals and corporates

Find out more about the conditions for

In your application, you’ll need to demonstrate that you can meet these conditions – or ask us for a limit or variation in your licence.

Notifying the FMA

Licensee obligations include notifying the FMA of certain events and providing us with information. To find out more about your ongoing obligations please refer to your License.  All notifications should be emailed to [email protected], noting the relevant obligation in the subject line of your email.