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Task Force to look at financial intermediaries

30 November 2004

Task Force to look at financial intermediaries takes its first steps

The recently appointed task force to look at how the regulation of New Zealand’s financial advisers and marketers measures up today set out how it plans to go about its work.

Michael Webb, chair of the task force, said the task force is committed to an open, transparent and highly consultative approach to its work.

“We want to hear from New Zealanders from all walks of life who have sought and received financial advice or bought financial products – whether that’s about investing money for retirement purposes or a young person making their first investment.

“We want to hear what those people’s experiences have been like. What have been the pluses or minuses and what are they looking for in the law?

“We also want to hear from the people who give the advice or market the products about what they think of the way the market operates in New Zealand and how it is regulated. Are we matching, or even better than, the rest of the world or are we perhaps not doing so well?

“There will be a wide range of answers to these questions and we are not expecting the issues to be simple. What we are committed to doing is approaching it all with an open mind and no preconceived ideas about possible regulation of the industry.

“Our overall objective is a regulatory regime that is best suited to our needs.

“There is information scattered in various sources on our financial services industry and we want to pull that together.

“But we also particularly want to hear from consumers and financial intermediaries themselves about what they think the issues are.

To this end, Mr Webb said the task force plans to do its work in two phases.

“Phase one is about just what the issues are, and to consult widely on that as part of an information gathering process. Phase two is to consider the options to best address those issues, and to consult widely on those as well.”

“As part of phase one, we will be consulting on an issues identification paper, asking consumers questions and running a series of focus group discussions. This is planned to start in December 2004.

“The task force will then gather that information together, examine it, identify what seem to be the key issues and then develop some possible options to address those issues,” said Mr Webb.

Those options will be set out in a paper for consultation, which is planned for the first half of 2005.

The task force is expected to report back to government in the middle of next year. Its Terms of Reference require the task force to suggest options for reform that will ensure quality financial information and advice is provided to the public and to assist New Zealanders to make the most of their savings.

ENDS


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