The following principles underpin our regulatory approach and guide our regulatory decisions.
Intelligence-led and harm-based: we are a risk-based regulator which means we identify and focus our efforts on areas of greatest harm consumers and financial markets.
Outcome-focused: we focus our resources on where we have the greatest opportunity of achieving desired outcomes and reducing harm. We consider the most appropriate action for each situation, recognising the limits of our powers, and considering regulatory burden.
Effective and efficient: we regularly review the use of our resources to enhance our effectiveness and efficiency.
Consistent and transparent: we clearly communicate our intentions and expectations to market participants, and explain our actions.
Flexible and responsive: we have an operating model that enables us to adapt and respond quickly to changing market conditions. We seek and act on feedback, and learn from our experiences.
A systems view: we promote an integrated and coordinated approach to financial markets regulation in New Zealand. The FMA is a member of the Council of Financial Regulators (CoFR), together with the RBNZ, MBIE, Treasury and the Commerce Commission. CoFR provides a forum for a continuous, forward-looking focus on system risks and regulatory coordination by members.
Capable, confident and well-informed investors are an essential part of healthy financial markets. Part of our role is to help investors build this capability.
Our objective is to build investor confidence and understanding so they can make informed investment decisions and choose the right products.
Our focus areas
The FMA is a trusted, independent source of information for consumers on:
choosing and using investment products
avoiding fraud and scams
getting help and advice
How we support consumers
As the regulator, we require the finance industry to treat customers and investors fairly. We work with industry to continually improve their products and processes with their customers in mind. We do this by:
Regularly checking in with industry and monitoring its processes
Ensuring industry practices and services focus on good customer outcomes
Working with other government agencies and suggesting where government policy changes are needed
Publishing information about KiwiSaver (such as fees and member engagement)
Conducting behavioural insights trials to see what works
What we want consumers to do
Use licensed providers
Know the warning signs of scams, and check our warning lists
Shop around for products – read disclosure information, make informed decisions and get advice when needed
Be aware of the risks of different products and investments
Regularly check their investments
We want KiwiSaver members to
Understand the impact of fees on returns
Choose an appropriate fund
Ask the right questions before choosing or changing their KiwiSaver provider
Consumer advisory network
Our consumer advisory network helps us ensure consumer perspectives are considered and addressed in our investor capability strategy and initiatives, and in our broader regulatory activities.
The current member organisations are:
Banking Ombudsman Scheme
Consumer New Zealand
Financial Dispute Resolution
FSCL – Financial Services Complaints Limited
Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman Scheme
National Building Financial Capability Charitable Trust
Competition law The Commerce Commission may be able to assist with matters about anti-competitive practices.
Registered companies The Companies Office holds information about registered companies. It maintains registers for a range of entities such as incorporated societies, charitable trusts, and limited partnerships. It also maintains the Financial Service Providers Register, where you can check if a person or business is registered to provide a financial service. Financial service providers are not required to be monitored by the FMA simply as a result of registration. We check the qualifications, competence and good character of financial service providers and monitor them only if they are directly licensed by us.
Scams Consumer Protection shares details of scams known to be circulating in New Zealand and you can report a scam on their website.
You can report any online incidents such as scams, frauds, privacy breaches or suspicious spam messages to NetSafe.
Credit (including hire purchase) and debt Consumer Protection and the Commerce Commission have information about your rights when you use credit cards, store cards, buy goods or services on credit or get cash loans.
If you're worried about a loan you've got with a finance company, you can also contact Consumer Protection.
Resolving disputes Your financial service provider must provide the name of their dispute resolution scheme in their disclosure documents, or you can search for it on the Financial Service Provider Register (FSPR)
There are four schemes and they offer free services to help you resolve disputes:
The Banking Ombudsman investigates and resolves disputes between customers and their banks. They also deal with complaints about a range of non-bank financial service providers.
The Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman considers complaints about insurers and other financial service providers that are members of its scheme.
Financial Services Complaints Limited considers complaints against financial service providers that are members of its scheme.
Financial Dispute Resolution (operated by FairWay Resolution) considers complaints against financial service providers that are members of its scheme.
Financial decisions Our investor section includes information about investing. Sorted also has information on financial planning and investing.
Buying and selling a property The Real Estate Agents Authority has information on your rights when you buy and sell a property. They will consider complaints about behaviour of real estate agents.
Identity theft, financial crimes or fraud You should contact the Police in the first instance. The Serious Fraud Office investigates serious or complex fraud.
Advice on choosing a financial advice provider Our investor section includes information about getting financial advice. You can also visit the Sorted website to find out more about how to choose a financial advice provider.