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.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


DIY: Kiwi Ingenuity And Masking Tape Saves Chick

Kiwi ingenuity and masking tape has saved a Kiwi chick after its egg was badly damaged endangering the chick's life. The egg was delivered to Kiwi Encounter at Rainbow Springs in Rotorua 14 days ago by a DOC worker with a large hole in its shell and against all odds has just successfully hatched. More>>


Trade: Key To Lead Mission To India; ASEAN FTA Review Announced

Prime Minister John Key will lead a trade delegation to India next week, saying the pursuit of a free trade agreement with the protectionist giant is "the primary reason we're going" but playing down the likelihood of early progress. More>>



MYOB: Digital Signatures Go Live

From today, Inland Revenue will begin accepting “digital signatures”, saving businesses and their accountants a huge amount of administration time and further reducing the need for pen and paper in the workplace. More>>

Oil Searches: Norway's Statoil Quits Reinga Basin

Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company, has given up oil and gas exploration in Northland's Reinga Basin, saying the probably of a find was 'too low'. More>>


Modern Living: Auckland Development Blowouts Reminiscent Of Run Up To GFC

The collapse of property developments in Auckland is "almost groundhog day" to the run-up of the global financial crisis in 2007/2008 as banks refuse to fund projects due to blowouts in construction and labour costs, says John Kensington, the author of KPMG's Financial Institutions Performance Survey. More>>


Health: New Zealand's First ‘No Sugary Drinks’ Logo Unveiled

New Zealand’s first “no sugary drinks logo” has been unveiled at an event in Wellington... It will empower communities around New Zealand to lift their health and wellbeing and send a clear message about the damage caused by too much sugar in our diets. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news