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Financial Market Infrastructures Standards Issued

Standards for designated Financial Market Infrastructures (FMIs) have been issued by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua (RBNZ) and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko, following two rounds of public consultation.

FMIs are multilateral systems (such as payments systems and central counterparties) that enable electronic payments and financial market transactions and are therefore essential for the day-to-day operation of the financial system and economy.

Deputy Governor Christian Hawkesby says although FMIs play a critical role in our financial system, most New Zealanders will not be aware of them because banks and other financial sector institutions provide the direct interface with customers.

“Most of us don’t think about the underlying infrastructures we rely on for daily economic life, but we can be severely impacted when something goes wrong. If a designated FMI failed or encountered problems, electronic payments and financial market transactions could be severely disrupted. This in turn could have flow-on impacts for New Zealanders, our financial system and the wider economy.”

Public consultations to inform the development of the FMI Standards were held in July 2021 and September 2022. Feedback was largely supportive of the approach to closely follow international practice (the Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures) and included useful technical suggestions, which have been reflected in the issued FMI Standards.

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The FMI Standards come into effect from 1 March 2024 and support the implementation of the FMI Act, which is a comprehensive regulatory regime for designated FMIs.

“The issuance of FMI Standards and completing work to fully implement the FMI Act will help ensure that financial market infrastructures remain robust and operate smoothly in the background,” Mr Hawkesby says.

FMA Executive Director for Regulatory Delivery, Clare Bolingford says issuing the FMI Standards is a significant milestone and the culmination of several years’ work with the sector.

“We thank everyone who contributed to the development of the Standards which align with international best practice while reflecting the specific characteristics here in New Zealand,” Ms Bolingford says.

The FMI Standards include 28 Standards plus detailed accompanying guidance and a framework for the regulation of overseas FMIs. The 28 Standards set out a comprehensive set of requirements for operators of systemically important FMIs and operators of FMIs who apply for designation status.
 

More information

Q&As

What are FMIs and why are they important?

  • FMIs are critical systems that facilitate non-cash payments and financial market transactions. Robust and well-functioning FMIs are essential for the day-to-day operation of the economy, and therefore the wellbeing and prosperity of all New Zealanders.
  • However, New Zealanders will often not be aware of the critical role played by FMIs because they operate behind the scenes, while banks and other financial sector institutions provide the direct interface with consumers.
  • FMIs are multilateral systems that provide clearing, settlement, and reporting services in relation to payments, securities, derivatives and other financial transactions.
  • There are several types of FMIs, including payment systems, securities settlement systems, central securities depositories, central counterparties, and trade repositories.
  • New Zealanders depend on FMIs in their daily economic lives. The inter-bank payment system operated by the Reserve Bank – the Exchange Settlement Account System (ESAS) – is one example of an FMI operating in New Zealand.

What does the FMI Act do?

  • The FMI Act has financial stability and market conduct purposes and provides for a comprehensive regulatory regime for designated FMIs (i.e. FMIs that are systemically important or FMIs who apply for designation status to access certain legal protections around settlement finality) and information and investigative powers in respect of all FMIs. For designated FMIs, the FMI Act includes powers related to crisis management, oversight of system rules and the issuance of legally binding standard.

Who is the regulator?

  • The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) are collectively the ‘regulator’ of FMIs, as defined in the FMI Act (except in relation to pure payment systems where the RBNZ is the sole regulator).

What do the FMI standards do?

  • Standards issued under the FMI Act are a form of secondary legislation that create legally binding obligations on operators of designated FMIs. Standards can be issued on a range of matters including, governance, access policies, business continuity plans and the management of financial and operational risk.

What systems are examples of designated FMIs?

How are FMIs designated under the FMI Act? What makes an FMI systemically important?

  • FMIs are designated under the FMI Act because they are determined to be systemically important by the regulator or because they apply for designation status to access certain legal protections around settlement finality. To determine if an FMI is systemically important, the regulator will conduct an assessment that is based on the matters set out in section 23 of the FMI Act and elaborated on in our Framework for Identifying Systemically Important FMI.

Do all the FMI Standards come into effect on 1 March 2024?

  • All FMI standards, except for Standards 23A (Disclosing compliance with the FMI Standards), come into force on 1 March 2024. Standard 23A comes into force on 1 March 2025.

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