Page last updated: 28 February 2023

Make a complaint

Complaints are important to us and help us monitor whether financial markets are working as they should; detect and act on misconduct and gather information to determine where we should direct our attention and priorities. 

Before you get in touch, please read the information below to ensure we are the right agency to help you with your issue. You can also read our Frequently Asked Questions.

If your complaint is about a social media post, please include a screenshot of the post with your complaint as these posts frequently change or may be removed.

Please note all calls are recorded.

We investigate a range of complaints about the conduct of individuals and businesses that operate in our financial markets. We may be able to help you if your complaint is about:

Businesses, individuals and markets we license and authorise

We can look into your complaint to see if the financial service provider might have breached a law we enforce.

Illegal investment offers and schemes

We investigate complaints about illegal investment offers. We publish warnings and alerts when we find organisations have made illegal investment offers or operated illegal investment schemes.

You should report other types of scams to the Consumer Protection’s Scamwatch.

New Zealand incorporated 'shell' companies

We investigate complaints about financial service companies and limited partnerships that are incorporated in New Zealand but have no physical presence here. These are also known as ‘shell companies’.

These companies often offer online services such as margin foreign exchange trading and margin commodity trading. Their websites may imply they are regulated by the FMA, but many are not.

Fair dealing

You can complain about misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to financial products or financial services.  See what products and services are covered and how we work with the Commerce Commission on fair dealing matters. 

IMPORTANT: New Zealand laws have changed. If your complaint is about misleading or deceptive conduct that occurred BEFORE 1 April 2014, please contact the Commerce Commission.

If your complaint is about misleading or deceptive conduct for financial products or services that occurred AFTER 1 April 2014, please contact us.

Unregistered financial service providers

We investigate complaints about people and organisations that are not registered when they should be.

Everyone who provides financial service in New Zealand must be registered for that service. They must also be a member of a dispute resolution scheme if they provide financial services to retail clients. See our FAQs page for more information about dispute resolution schemes and how to check whether a financial service provider is registered.

Misleading advertising about investments

We regulate advertisements of investments but media advertisements must also comply with the Advertising Standards Authority's Code of Practice for Financial Advertising

Complaints about the FMA

You can make a complaint to the FMA that is about us rather than about any other organisation, firm or individual.

We will deal with any complaint about the way in which we have carried out, or failed to carry out, our role. This includes complaints about mistakes or lack of care, unreasonable delay, unprofessional behaviour, bias or lack of integrity by us or our staff. See more about how we deal with complaints below.

For information about any other kind of complaint you may have please check our FAQs and what we don't do and who else may be able to help first (below) – it may save you time.  If you can’t find your answer there, please contact us.

We consider all information we receive, but we can't investigate each complaint. 

If you are concerned about the need to protect your identity, please raise it with us when you make your complaint. Read our whistleblowing page for more information below.

You can provide information anonymously, however, this may limit our ability to investigate your complaint. If you can, please give us your contact details.

We take complaints very seriously so when we receive your complaint, we'll send you an acknowledgement to confirm we have it.

We will record the details you've sent us and decide whether it's a matter that we should take further action on.

1. Assess the seriousness of your complaint

We consider all complaints we receive, but we can't investigate each one. In deciding whether to look further into a complaint, we take into account our compliance and enforcement priorities. We also look at whether the issue you have complained about could harm the market as a whole, such as how widespread the conduct appears to be.

2. Decide if we need more information and respond to your request

We will contact you if we need more information. We will acknowledge your complaint within two working days. We will provide an update about your complaint within 10 working days as to whether your complaint has been evaluated for further action, referred to another agency or will be closed.

General enquiries will be acknowledged within two working days, and then receive a response within 20 working days of receiving all relevant information.

3. Take action

If the issue potentially breaks one of the laws we enforce, we'll consider what action we should take. We have a broad range of powers and functions and may take action in a number of ways. Learn more about our enforcement policy.

4. No action

We may decide not to take action at this time, given our regulatory policies and resources. If this is the case, we'll let you know and close your complaint.

We rely on people in the market to help us to maintain market integrity.

We would like to hear from you if you have information about:

  • misleading information in disclosure documents such as a prospectus, investment statement or product disclosure statement
  • non-payment of money to investors when due
  • use of inside information for profit on the sharemarket
  • financial advice given by people who are not Authorised Financial Advisers (AFAs)
  • financial services provided by people who are not registered
  • misleading reporting or non-reporting of relevant information to NZX or to update a prospectus or investment statement
  • low-ball share offers
  • misleading or deceptive conduct for financial products and services - read more about fair dealing
  • any investigations the FMA is conducting

Protecting your identity

We will take all possible steps to protect the identity of anyone who gives us information in good faith

Information provided to us in confidence is protected by the Financial Markets Conduct Act or any other enactments such as the Official Information Act permits its disclosure. If we need to disclose information that may reveal your identity, we will let you know first. The FMA may be legally required to disclose your identity, or disclosure may be necessary to successfully progress an investigation.

You can provide information anonymously, but this may limit our ability to investigate the matter further.

Legal protection

If you make a disclosure to the FMA, in certain cases the law will protect your identity and may protect you from any related legal action, as contained in the following Acts:

If the law does not provide specific whistleblower protection, we cannot guarantee you immunity from legal action in return for information. However, we will always take into account voluntary disclosures and other forms of cooperation when considering what action is appropriate.

If you believe there has been serious wrongdoing by or in the organisation you work for, and it relates to any of the matters discussed above or matters that the FMA might be able to consider in relation to the financial markets, you can make a protected disclosure to FMA.

You must work (or have worked) for the organisation you are making the disclosure about. Under the Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act 2022, workers include contractors, homeworkers, volunteers, and people seconded to the organisation.

You can also make a protected disclosure to the FMA if you believe there has been serious wrongdoing by or in the FMA, and you have worked for or were a member of the FMA.

What is a protected disclosure?

The purpose of the Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act is to encourage people to report serious wrongdoing in their workplace by providing protection for employees who want to “blow the whistle”.

A disclosure of information is a protected disclosure if the discloser:

  • believes on reasonable grounds that there is, or has been, serious wrongdoing in or by the discloser’s organisation; and
  • discloses information about that in accordance with the Act; and
  • does not disclose it in bad faith.

A disclosure is only protected if it is made to the discloser’s organisation or an appropriate authority. Disclosures made to the media or on social media are not protected under the Act.

Is the matter serious wrongdoing?

Examples of serious wrongdoing where FMA may be the appropriate authority include actions, or failures to act, that:

  • are an offence under the laws that we enforce for example the Financial Markets Conduct Act.
  • Cause a serious risk to the safety of the financial markets.

If the matter is not about serious wrongdoing but you want to report it to FMA, you can still notify your complaint to us (as per above). You can ask that we keep your contact details confidential.

When and how will I be protected

If you make a protected disclosure to FMA, you are entitled to certain protections under the Act:

  • Information that identifies you will be kept confidential, unless you consent to it being disclosed or disclosure is essential to:
    • investigating the disclosure effectively.
    • preventing a serious risk to public health, public safety, someone’s health and safety, or the environment.
    • natural justice.
    • investigating for the purposes of enforcing the law.
  • You are immune from civil, criminal, or disciplinary proceedings in relation to making the protected disclosure. However, you are not protected from action being taken against you for any involvement in the wrongdoing.
  • Your employer cannot retaliate against you or treat you less favourably because you made the disclosure.

If anybody breaches your right to protection, you can take action under the relevant legislation, for example by claiming a breach of the Privacy Act, taking a personal grievance under the Employment Relations Act, or taking action under the anti-victimisation part of the Human Rights Act.

You are not entitled to protection under the Act if:

  • you know the allegations are false.
  • you make the disclosure directly to the media or on social media.
  • you make the disclosure in bad faith.
  • the information you are disclosing is protected by legal professional privilege.

What will FMA do with my protected disclosure?

FMA’s role as an appropriate authority is to consider, check, and deal with disclosures of serious wrongdoing in or by the discloser’s organisation.

When we receive a protected disclosure from external parties, we will:

  1. Check whether it meets the requirements to be a protected disclosure.
  2. Check with you whether you have made the disclosure to anyone else, and if so, what the outcome was (if you haven’t already told us).
  3. Consider the disclosure and whether it warrants investigation.
  4. Deal with the matter by doing one or more of the following:
    • Investigating the disclosure.
    • Addressing any serious wrongdoing by acting or recommending action.
    • Referring the disclosure to the organisation your disclosure relates to or to another appropriate authority (we will consult with you and the other authority before doing so).
    • Deciding that no action is required.

Let you know what we have done (or are doing) to deal with the matter, and the reasons for our decision.

Where can I get more information?

For more information on protected disclosures, see:

Should I make a protected disclosure or file a normal complaint?

It depends on the situation. Protected disclosures are specifically aimed at protecting whistleblowers and must meet certain requirements. For example, you cannot make a protected disclosure if you have never worked for the organisation concerned.

Only make a protected disclosure if you:

  • are reporting serious wrongdoing (see above) by an organisation you work for (or have worked for), and
  • want the matter to be investigated, and
  • want the protections that a protected disclosure would give you.

Please note that for all disclosures and concerns, we will consider the matter but may decide not to take any action. Even if we don’t take action, the information you provide will be kept on file and maybe used to consider any other relevant complaints or matters.

How to make a protected disclosure

If after reading the information above, you want to make a protected disclosure about serious wrongdoing by an organisation you work (or have worked) for, please email us