Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Commerce Commission working on interest rate swap probe

Commerce Commission still working on probe of sale of interest rate swaps

Feb. 28 (BusinessDesk) – The Commerce Commission says it is still working on its investigation into whether interest rate swaps were misleadingly marketed after claims from farmers that they got locked into confusing contracts with excessive break fees.

The commission began its probe in August last year and has received 42 complaints since concerns over the way the financial derivatives were sold first aired in the media, chairman Mark Berry told Parliament’s primary production select committee.

The swaps allow clients to manage the interest rate exposure on their borrowing and are typically marketed to large corporations and institutions. However, from 2005 banks began marketing them to their rural and commercial clients.

Farmer lobby Federated Farmers was among groups seeking a review by the regulator, saying the instruments were mostly sold to its members between 2007 and 2009, with concerns about them only surfacing in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Fed president Bruce Wills called the swaps “incredibly complicated instruments.” Farmers had reported that margins had been changed on fixed term swap rates and that loan contract clauses might have been changed to allow that to happen.

“There appears to be considerable confusion about swaps, with them being sold to farmers as though they are fixed rate products,” Wills said. While farmers had to take responsibility for their financial decisions, the lobby group “will not excuse the wilful mis-selling of any product, financial or otherwise.”

Not many farmers use swaps and some that do rate them highly, he added.

Labour’s primary industries spokesman Damien O’Connor said last week that “the practice of selling complicated finance products to farmers has been far more extensive than previously stated.”

“This is a serious issue that needs careful consideration because it has major implications for primary sector financing where debt currently runs at close to $50 billion,” he said.

The commission’s Berry said his investigation’s primary aim is to establish whether the swaps were marketed “in ways that may have misled customers as to their true risk, nature and suitability.”

The regulator had received a large amount of information from complainants and banks and will shortly widen its inquiries, seeking further information from people who have entered into interest rate swaps.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Crown Accounts: Government Ekes Out Six-Month Surplus Of $9M

The New Zealand government eked out a tiny surplus in the first six months of the fiscal year as growth in domestic consumption lifted the goods and services tax take, while uncertainties over the Kaikoura earthquake costs meant expenses were less than expected. More>>

ALSO:

Almost 400 Jobs: Shock At Cadbury's Dunedin Factory Closure

Workers at Cadbury in Dunedin are reeling after learning this morning that the iconic Cadbury factory is to close, with the loss of almost 400 jobs... “The company had reported it was doing well and this has come out of the blue,” says Chas. More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Boards Of Inquiry For Auckland Roading Projects

Boards of Inquiry have been appointed to decide on two significant Auckland roading projects in a move which will get a decision by the end of the year, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Three Months On: Quake Reciovery In Kaikōura And Elsewhere

Three months after the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on 14 November, encouraging recovery progress is being made in affected communities. More>>

ALSO:

Jetstar, Qantas For Govt Transport: Government Still In Talks With Air NZ

The government is still negotiating with national carrier Air New Zealand in a cross-agency air travel contract that will add a number of new airlines to the list of approved flyers. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news