Code of conduct means better financial advice

  • Hon Kris Faafoi
Commerce and Consumer Affairs

A new Code of Conduct will ensure all financial advice provided to Kiwis is of good quality, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi says, because this advice is crucial in helping Kiwis achieve the lifestyles and retirement they want.

 “Having access to good quality financial advice makes a big difference in people’s lives. It means they can more easily reach their financial goals, including saving for a first home or enjoying their retirement. Small changes to your financial planning now will accumulate and can make a big difference – and we want all New Zealanders to receive these benefits.

Mr Faafoi says anyone giving financial advice to consumers will need to act fairly and with integrity when they give advice, and to meet a minimum standard of competence. Businesses that provide financial advice will need to be licensed.

“We want consumers to have confidence that people advising them about their finances are prioritising their interests, are competent and are following professional standards.” 

Mr Faafoi says finalising a new financial advice code complements other work underway to ensure consumers are at the heart of decision-making when they access financial services. The Code of Conduct fits within the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act that was passed in April to make financial decisions easier for consumers. It also complements work underway to provide more rotections when consumers use banks and insurance companies. 

“Serious issues were identified by the FMA and RBNZ in their recent reviews of the banking and life insurance sector. The code, alongside the new financial advice legislation, will help address those issues by ensuring consumers’ interests are much better served. The Government is also fast-tracking measures so that consumers get a fair deal from banks and insurers, and is currently seeking feedback on options to achieve this.”  

The Financial Advice Code Working Group was appointed in mid-2017 to develop the new code, and Mr Faafoi thanked the group for their work.  

The code, along with the new regulatory regime for financial advice, is expected to come into force in mid-2020. Businesses will have at least six months to get a transitional licence, and a further two years to become fully licensed and meet the competency requirements.  

More information is available here. 

Media contact: Lindsey Birnie 021 814 025