Legal and regulator update for the life and health insurance sector

4 April 2022 - Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Hon David Clark, January and February 2022 diary released with the following potential financial services sector related meetings noted:

  • 2 Feb 2022 – ASB (Vittoria Short, CEO; Craig Sims, Executive GM; Debbie Mills, Tribe Lead Home Ownership & Louise Griffin GM Govt Relations)
  • 2 Feb 2022 – Kiwibank (Steve Jurkovich, CEO; Liz Knight (CRO); & Mike Hendriksen (CLO))
  • 2 Feb 2022 – BNZ (Dan Huggins, CEO; Sam Perkins, Chief Risk Officer; Martin Elliott, GM Consumer Product Lending Domain; Dean Schmidt, Exec, Commercial Services and Responsible Business; Paul Hay, GM, Regulatory Affairs; Dirk McLeish, GM, Line 1 Control and Assurance)
  • 2 Feb 2022 – Westpac (Catherine McGrath, CEO, Westpac; Clayton Cosgrove)
  • 2 Feb 2022 – ANZ (Antonia Watson, CEO; Peter Parussini, GM Public, Consumer and Govt Affairs; Ben Kelleher – MD, Personal Banking; Cushla Scholfield,  Associate General Counsel; Andrew Gaukrodger  - Govt Relations & Corporate Responsibility)
  • 9 Feb 2022 – IAG (Bryce Davies, Corp Relations and Amanda Whiting, CEO)
  • 9 Feb 2022 – Financial Advice NZ (Heather Roy, Chair and Katrina Shanks, CEO, and John Bolton, Director)
  • 10 Feb 2022 – FinCap (Ruth Smithers, CE)
  • 17 Feb 2022 – Speech to FSC Future Ready Advice Summit

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/minister/hon-dr-david-clark

4 April 2022 – Government announced a new round of sanctions announced targeting Russian oligarchs. https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-round-sanctions-announced-targeting-russian-oligarchs

5 April 2022 – Parliament completed the first reading of the Fair Pay Agreements Bill, referred to the Education and Workforce Select Committee with report back due by 5 Oct 2022.

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_121328/fair-pay-agreements-bill

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/everyday-workers-take-centre-stage-fpas-bill-passes-first-reading

6 April 2022 – IRD advised that a new FATCA Excel file template is now available for download via myIR.

6 April 2022 – Commission for Financial Capability released data about KiwiSaver balances across age groups and gender, with the data collected by Melville Jessup Weaver actuaries on behalf of the Commission. https://retirement.govt.nz/news/latest-news/new-data-reveals-for-the-first-time-largest-breakdown-of-kiwisaver-balances-across-all-ages-and-genders/

6 April 2022 – Privacy Commissioner invited submissions on a proposal to amend the Health Information Privacy Code 2020 to align it to the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill, with submissions closing on 4 May 2022. https://privacy.org.nz/publications/statements-media-releases/submissions-invited-on-proposal-to-amend-the-health-information-privacy-code-2020-to-align-it-to-the-pae-ora-healthy-futures-bill/


Fidelity Life announcements on future of company

Fidelity Life made two announcements regarding the future direction of the insurer. The first announcement was focused on the completion of the sale of Westpac Life for $400 million. As part of the sale Westpac life will be renamed Fidelity Insurance, and Westpac will distribute Fidelity Insurance products for the next 15 years.

The second announcement is regarding Ngāi Tahu Holdings coming on as as a shareholder. Alongside NZ Super Fund, Ngāi Tahu Holdings played a significant role in the purchase of Westpac Life. As part of the acquisition Ngāi Tahu Holdings took a $140 million (24.9%) stake in the insurer.

"Westpac Group has today announced it has completed the sale of its New Zealand life insurance business, Westpac Life, to New Zealand’s largest locally owned life insurer, Fidelity Life, for NZ$400 million.

As part of the sale, Westpac Life has been renamed Fidelity Insurance and entered into a 15-year life insurance distribution arrangement with Westpac NZ. Under this arrangement, Westpac NZ will distribute Fidelity Insurance products to its retail customers for the next 15 years."

 

"Fidelity Life has officially welcomed Ngāi Tahu Holdings as a new large shareholder following the completion of the New Zealand-owned life insurer’s $400 million acquisition of Westpac Life.

Fidelity Life’s largest shareholder the NZ Super Fund and Ngāi Tahu Holdings funded the majority of the acquisition, with Ngāi Tahu Holdings taking a $140 million, 24.9% stake in the life insurer."


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: