Legal and regulatory review for the life and health insurance sector

22 Apr 2021 – ASIC released its set of expectations of life and general insurers following a review of insurers’ responses to consumers experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. This and vulnerable client issues are likely to be covered by the FMA over the course of the year so these expectations are well worth reviewing. https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/news-centre/news-items/asic-sets-expectations-of-life-and-general-insurers-following-a-review-of-insurers-responses-to-consumers-experiencing-financial-hardship-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

22 Apr 2021 – Department of Internal Affairs released its AML/CFT Regulatory Findings Report 2020 together with its targeted compliance assessment on reporting entities’ policies, procedures and controls for relating to politically exposed persons (PEPs). Weblinks follow:

https://www.dia.govt.nz/AML-CFT-Regulatory-Findings-Report-2020-available and https://www.dia.govt.nz/AML-CFT-Targeted-Compliance-Assessments

22 Apr 2021 – Government, Treasury and the RBNZ advised that a Cabinet decision to adopt the final measures resulting from the Reserve Bank Act Review will see drafting commence for new legislation to be known as the Deposit Takers Act. This Act will create a single regulatory regime for all bank and non-bank deposit takers (such as building societies and finance companies). It will also introduce a new deposit insurance scheme that will protect up to $100,000 per depositor, per institution in the event of a failure. Relevant weblinks follow:

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/deposit-taking-measures-protect-financial-stability-and-new-zealanders

https://www.rbnz.govt.nz/news/2021/04/new-deposit-takers-act-a-step-closer

https://www.nzba.org.nz/2021/04/22/deposit-guarantee-scheme-provides-extra-security-for-depositors/


Core services focus by banks sees them exit insurance

Current economic conditions are accelerating a recent trend in banking - a focus on core services - as evidence, we offer this series of announcements:

Alongside this, traditional branch services are being cut or slimmed down. This shift to digital was given a further shove by lockdowns so the time is right to re-appraise the value of each branch in the network. In addition to that, the value of each service in the branch is being reconsidered as well. With the decision by ANZ to withdraw from offering cash foreign exchange services being announced: https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/123131192/anz-to-stop-offering-foreign-currency-citing-drop-in-demand-due-to-covid19 

Although perhaps this is not just about economic conditions, but also competitive ones. Digital disruption is coming to the world of banking. A slew of online and consumer lenders has been grabbing attention (and high valuations) on the ASX. More challengers are likely to come. This is prompting a strategic rethink by several banks. The regulatory environment is shifting as well, creating more space for the change: