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Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector

11 Nov 2020 – RBNZ announced a delay to the start of increases in bank capital until 2022 to allow banks continued headroom to respond to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and to support the economic recovery. In December, the Reserve Bank will consult about re-instating loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions on high-risk lending with effect from 1 March 2021. Further, the restrictions on dividends and redeeming non-Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) capital instruments put in place in April 2020 will be retained until 31 March 2021, or later if required. The Reserve Bank has also written to insurers to advise it has updated expectations on dividends. The Reserve Bank expects that insurers will only make dividend payments if it is prudent for that insurer to do so, having regard to their own stress testing and the elevated risks in the current environment. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2020/11/further-regulatory-steps-to-promote-cashflow-confidence-and-stability

11 Nov 2020 – RBNZ Monetary Policy Committee agreed to provide additional monetary stimulus to the economy in order to meet its consumer price inflation and employment remit. The Committee agreed that the additional stimulus would be provided through a Funding for Lending Programme (FLP), commencing in December. The FLP will reduce banks’ funding costs and lower interest rates. The Committee will also continue with the Large Scale Asset Purchase (LSAP) Programme up to $100 billion, and retain the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 0.25 percent in accordance with the guidance issued on 16 March. https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2020/11/more-monetary-stimulus-provided

11 Nov 2020 – NZX confirmed 10 Dec 2020 as the date for the Exchange’s new separate regulatory agency, NZ RegCo, being a stand-alone, independently governed, agency performing all frontline regulatory functions in support of NZX’s statutory obligations as a licensed market operator.” Implementation required various amendments to be made to NZX’s market rules and the NZCDC settlement system rules, also coming into effect on 10 Dec 2020. https://www.nzx.com/announcements/363019

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