After being delayed because of COVID-19, MBIE have announced that the new financial advice regime will begin on 15 March 2021. In addition to the new date being set, the Government has set new disclosure requirements as part of the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act to ensure that customers have the ability to make more informed decisions. Advisers will be required to disclose their services and other relevant information. This will allow potential clients to decide if the service on offer is right for them.
“The new disclosure requirements will require businesses and individuals who give financial advice to disclose important information about their services to their clients.
“The disclosure requirements are set in regulations under the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act, which introduces a new regulatory regime for financial advice,” said Sharon Corbett, manager financial markets at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.”
On disclosure, the details confirm that as expected a progressive disclosure regime is being put in place, much along the lines suggested by the consultation. We think that is good - it makes sense, and it allows the right level of information for each stage of the sales process. It will not please everyone, some prefer the certainty of fixed requirements that are all dealt with at a specific point in time, especially if they have a very simple (and short) advice process.
UPDATE: because I was asked: yes, dollar disclosure of commission payments is required. A range might be disclosed at one point and a specific figure disclosed when known.
More important, perhaps, is the start date for the new regime. I cannot underline enough how important compliance assurance is as you come up to this date. There are some simple steps you can take to get yourself to a point of comfort.
- Refer to a detailed list of all the reference standards required to achieve compliance - call or write to ask me for such a list if you need one.
- Conduct a gap analysis against the full range of requirements.
- Start at the top - ensure your governance structures are in place, this is the engine that drives all effective compliance practice
- Fill in the processes required against the gaps identified, reporting into your governance process on a regular basis
Much of the commentary does not link directly to the documents, so here is a good digest of links for you:
The disclosure requirements page on MBIE's website: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/business-and-employment/business/financial-markets-regulation/regulation-of-financial-advice/regulations-to-support-the-financial-services-legislation-amendment-act/disclosure-requirements/
The overview of the disclosure regulations: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/dmsdocument/11508-regulations-setting-out-disclosure-requirements-in-the-new-financial-advice-regime-overview
The FMA's media release on the start date for the new regime: https://www.fma.govt.nz/news-and-resources/media-releases/fma-welcomes-start-date-of-new-financial-advice-regime/
The regulations in full: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2020/0132/latest/whole.html#LMS177125
In other news:
Fidelity Life: New Learning Management System for product accreditation and eLearning to be launched soon, Fidelity Life: New Sharecare challenges will begin 1 July 2020
Fidelity Life: Golden Life Plan will be no longer be offered to new applicants from 1 July 2020