NEW FINANCIAL ADVICE REGIME: From 15 March 2021, the QFE and QFE adviser categories will cease to exist. If your organisation is currently a QFE, it must apply for and hold a transitional financial advice provider licence to continue providing financial advice to retail clients. Any QFE advisers it employs will then become nominated representatives under its transitional licence.
You may still apply to become a QFE before the start of the new financial advice regime. However, note that to engage nominated representatives under a transitional licence in the new regime, you must have had QFE status on or before 9 April 2019. If you wish to apply for QFE status, please contact us as soon as possible.
In considering the ABS we may request further information, conduct interviews with senior management, for example, the director of the financial adviser force or compliance assurance and make on-site visits. We will send written confirmation of the decision once the review of the ABS and other enquiries are complete.
A business applying for QFE status must prepare an ABS. The ABS consists of two parts:
Part 1 describes its financial adviser services business
Part 2 explains the governance and compliance arrangements that have been put in place to ensure that the entity can take responsibility for the professional conduct and competence of all of its advisers in all of their adviser services. It must explain how consumer protection is addressed.
The ABS needs to be approved by the relevant governing body - usually the board of directors. It allows us to assess a business's capacity to ensure compliance by its financial advisers and maintain procedures for adequate consumer protection. It is:
a key document in a QFE application. The QFE ABS Guide will also help potential applicants decide whether they want their business to become a QFE
maintained by a QFE on an ongoing basis and forms part of a QFE's Annual Report to FMA. It allows us to tailor its ongoing monitoring of the QFE.
Businesses that wish to be partner businesses in a QFE should prepare one joint ABS document to demonstrate that they jointly have the capacity.
How to write an ABS - QFE ABS guide
QFE Adviser Business Statement Guide
It’s to help you decide if you want your business to become a QFE and, if so, how to go about applying for QFE status by preparing an Adviser Business Statement (ABS) which a QFE will need on an ongoing basis.
You can also read a summary of feedback that was prepared following the 2010/2011 QFE applications.
Your statement is for your internal use and for the FMA. You do not need to make it public unless you choose to. FMA will respect the confidential nature of information in an ABS or any other reports submitted to us.
Information held by FMA is subject to the Official Information Act 1982 and the Privacy Act 2020. These Acts provide for proper access to information held by public organisations and also protect information to the extent consistent with the public interest and preservation of personal privacy. Any request for information held by FMA would be considered in accordance with the requirements of these Acts.
There are grounds likely to provide good reason to withhold sensitive information submitted in an ABS, such as where its release would disclose a trade secret, prejudice the commercial position of the financial adviser business, or breach an obligation of confidence where the release of the information would be likely to prejudice the future supply of similar information or information from the same source.
Applicants should tell us if they consider the information provided in an ABS is confidential
FMA may vary the period of QFE status before renewal, on application by the QFE or on the following grounds:
the business of the QFE has changed in such a way that there is a material risk to consumers and/or
the QFE has been or is involved in market practices that are in material respects inconsistent with the purpose of the Financial Adviser Act 2008.
Renewing your QFE status
On 8 April 2019, the Government passed a new law changing the rules for how financial advice is provided to retail clients. As part of the transition rules, you do not need to renew your QFE status before the start of the new regime.
If your expiry date is approaching, we will contact you with further information.