06 September 2022

FMA Chief Executive Samantha Barrass opening remarks to the FANZ Conference

E ngā mana, e ngā maunga, e ngā hau e whā, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Nō Ingarangi ōku tupuna

Nō reira, ka mihi ki te whenua o Greenwich me te awa Thames.

Ko Ngāti Rānana ki te Pitonga te iwi

I whanau mai au I Rānana

Engari I te wā e tamariki ana ahau, I tipu ake au, ki Ōtautahi

Ko Te Whanganui ā-Tara taku kāinga noho nāianei

Ko Samantha Barrass taku ingoa

Ko taku mahi ki Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko, ko te Mana Whakahaere

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Ka huri au ki te reo Ingarihi

Thank you very much for having me here, back in the city in which I grew up.

I’ll use these opening remarks to give a high-level overview of my thinking, including how the financial advice sector fits into this, as well as what you’ll likely see from us on the ground over the next few years.

We’ve been, and are going through, a period of transformation for financial advice. All of you have played your part in this, as has the FMA and MBIE. I want to thank you for your work, your effort, your Mahi.

I imagine almost all of you in this room have now got or applied for your full financial advice provider licence.

If you haven’t, the FMA is here to help, and our teams have been and will be doing everything they can to help and assist leading up to the need to operate under a full licence by March next year. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Looking ahead to the next few years, my goal is fostering a genuinely fair financial system, with more New Zealanders than ever believing the financial sector is working well for them. Everyone needs to share in the benefits of a quality financial sector as well – this means all New Zealanders, not just a segment of New Zealanders.

Financial Advice is at the heart of this.  

Financial Advice ensures customers get the right financial product that works for them at the right point in their lives.

But as I’m sure you’re aware, the changes to financial advice are not the only changes happening right now. And it’s how this all fits together that is where the real opportunity lies.  

Through the Conduct of Financial Institutions legislation, the FMA is looking to ensure consumers have access to quality financial products, that offer value for money and deliver through the lifecycle of a product.

The real opportunity to me is combining those quality products with quality financial advice so consumers have the right product for them.

This is the golden thread that ties the changes together – quality products, with consumers accessing financial advice that means they understand how and why a product is right for them at that stage in their lives.

This will help ensure confidence and trust in the sector deepens, New Zealanders are managing risk appropriately and support our capital markets, enabling firms to access the money they need to grow and expand. The benefits are clear for everyone: consumers, businesses, the Māori economy and Aotearoa New Zealand as a whole.

That’s the big picture. What does it mean for you and your business? What is the FMA going to be doing?

A key focus for us is going to be understanding how the new regulatory structure is working for both the sector and consumers. Our focus also moves from licensing to monitoring. This means FMA staff will be talking to you about what you do, and how you do it.

Many of you will already have seen this in action through our engagement with you through FAP licensing and through our CoFI intermediaries’ workshops in the last couple of months.

FMA monitoring of your businesses will be both proactive and reactive – reactive is where we are responding to complaints or concerns. Proactive is where we are looking to engage with your business to deepen our understanding of how you deliver for your clients and the issues you see ahead for the industry.

As our knowledge and understanding deepens, that monitoring will become more targeted and risk-based, focused on mitigating or minimising consumer harm, or on identifying and highlighting good practice.  

Our focus and our approach in doing this will always be outcomes driven, based around the consumer.

We want consumers who are happy with their financial position, prepared for the future, confident in their financial decision making and in control of their finances. Financial advice is vital in delivering that.

Nga Mihi, it’s a pleasure to be here.