By Jonathan Underhill
Feb. 27 (BusinessDesk) - The Financial Markets Authority has filed criminal charges against a firm and its New Zealand-based director for claiming registration on the Financial Service Providers Register after it had been kicked off.
The FMA didn't identify those involved. For the first time, it filed charges for breaches of the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act.
"The FMA alleges the company continued to hold out on two different websites that it was registered on the Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR) after it had been deregistered and despite subsequent warnings from Companies Office regarding misleading statements on its website as to FSPR registration," it said in a statement. Karen Chang, the FMA's head of enforcement said the agency is concerned the register is being abused and "a clear warning has been given."
"The FSPR has been abused by businesses and individuals who use New Zealand’s reputation as a well-regulated country to target overseas investors," she said in a statement. "The FMA invests significant time and resources in tackling this problem to protect the legitimacy of New Zealand’s financial services firms."
Under the FSPR, the FMA reviewed 208 FSPs in the past three years, according to its report last September. Of those, 69 were deregistered, 21 voluntarily withdrew and 10 were referred to another government agency.