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Westpac offers support on finance legislation

Page 1 of 1

7 July 2008

Westpac offers support, comment on finance legislation

Westpac New Zealand has voiced its support for two key pieces of legislation related to the financial services industry being considered by Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Select Committee.

The Committee met today to hear oral submissions on both the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Bill and the Financial Advisors Bill.

Westpac’s General Manger Regulatory Affairs, Customer Advocacy and General Counsel New Zealand, Mariette Van Ryn, told the Committee that Westpac operated under a formal dispute resolution model involving the Banking Ombudsman, that the scheme worked well and the bank endorsed it as a model to be replicated across the industry under the Financial Service Provider’s Bill.

Ms Van Ryn said that Westpac also supported the Bill’s appeal provision – which is limited in scope to appeals on procedural fairness only. She said that the provision of an appeal process would bolster the integrity of the dispute resolution schemes by providing a useful check to ensure that the schemes are transparent and follow fair process.

If dispute resolution bodies cannot be held accountable for the process by which they reach decisions, it puts their and the initiative’s credibility at risk, she said.

Westpac told the committee that it also supported the intent of the Financial Advisor’s Bill to regulate financial advisors, but the bank had concerns the Bill was too broad in its definitions.

Ms Van Ryn said that, in Westpac’s view, the regulation must be proportional to the complexity of the advice given, the product, the customer type and the advisor type.  She said the Bill, in its current form, did not do any of this.

Westpac told the Committee it supported the inclusion of wealth advisors and equivalent staff within a bank, but not tellers giving simple advice on simple products.

– ENDS –

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