The Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMC Act) introduces new requirements for financial product offer information. This section outlines the new requirements, and provides information about when they don’t apply.
Information about ‘regulated offers’ must be disclosed in a product disclosure statement (PDS) and on the Disclose Register.
Information must include all material information about the offer of a financial product and be up-to-date, accurate and understandable.
The purpose of the information is to assist investors with their investment decisions.
Schedule 1 of the FMC Act sets out a series of statutory exclusions where lighter compliance paths are appropriate.
The disclose register
Material information about a regulated offer not included in a PDS needs to be uploaded to the Disclose Register. It also has online registers for managed investment schemes split into managed funds and other managed investments schemes.
You must provide a written risk assessment of the money laundering and financing of terrorism activity you could expect in the course of running your business.
You are required to implement an anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism programme that includes procedures to detect, deter, manage and mitigate money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
You are required to appoint a compliance officer to administer and maintain your programme.
You are required to perform due diligence processes on your customers. This includes customer identification and verification of identity.
You are required to report suspicious transactions.
The FMA receives funding from the Crown and a proportion of our costs is recouped from industry through levies.
A financial markets participant falls within one or more levy ’class’, depending on what financial services they provide.
A levy must be paid for every levy class the financial markets participant falls within. Levies are payable on the relevant leviable event as described in column 3 of Schedule 2 in the Regulations.
Some levy classes have been split in order to recognise the variations in size and nature of different financial market participants.
Most levies are paid when making an annual confirmation to the Registrar of Financial Service Providers (the Registrar).
Most levies are payable to the Registrar, via the (FSPR). However, some levies are payable directly to the FMA. This is set out in column 4 of Schedule 2 in the Regulations.
The following levy classes are invoiced directly by the FMA:
Levy Class 8, Levy Class 8A, Levy Class 10, Levy Class 10A and Levy Class 13.
The table below (see levy class description) provides a high-level description of each levy class. For the full description of levy classes, see Schedule 2 in the Regulations.
Levy Class description
The table below provides a high-level description of each levy class. For the full description of levy classes, see Schedule 2 in the Regulations.
Persons making an application for registration on the Financial Service Providers Register
Registered banks and licensed non-bank deposit takers
Licensed supervisors of debt securities and managed investment products in registered schemes
Managers (of registered schemes)
Persons who undertook trading activities on licensed markets, contributory mortgage brokers, trading financial products or foreign exchange on behalf of other persons (other than persons included in class 6A, 6B, 6C or 6D, authorised bodies that only provide the service under a market services licence held by a person in class 6A or 6D and DIMS wholesale providers) or licensed derivatives issuers
Licensed discretionary investment management service (DIMS) retail providers
Providers of a regulated client money or property service (as defined in section 6(1) of the FMC Act) other than persons included in class 6(a) or 6C
Custodians and persons providing custodial services
Crowdfunding service providers and peer-to-peer lending service providers
Licensed financial benchmark administrators
Licensed financial advice providers
All other financial service providers that are not included in any of classes 2 – 6H
Listed issuers (other than persons included in class 8A)
Small listed issuers
Lodgement of a product disclosure statement (PDS)
Licensed market operators
Licensed market operators that operate growth markets (other than persons included in class 10)
FMC reporting entities that lodge financial statements (or group financial statements) and auditor’s reports
Licensed overseas auditors
Persons that apply for registration or incorporation under the Building Societies Act 1965; the Companies Act 1993; the Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Act 1982; or the Limited Partnerships Act 2008
Persons that are registered or incorporated and required to make annual returns under the Building Societies Act 1965; the Companies Act 1993; the Friendly Societies and Credit Unions Act 1982; or the Limited Partnerships Act 2008
It is the responsibility of each financial service provider to ensure they are registered for the service(s) they provide and have paid the appropriate levies. As part of their online annual confirmation to the Registrar, they must select all of the applicable classes to determine the levies payable and confirm the information they have provided is true, correct and complete.
Under the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008 (the FSP Act) it is an offence to:
provide services you are not registered for or state you are registered for a particular financial service when you are not
make a representation relating to any document or information required by the FSP Act or its regulations knowing that it is false or misleading, or omit any matter knowing such omission is false or misleading.
These offences could result in a fine of up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment for individuals, and a fine of up to $300,000 for businesses.
It is also an offence under the FSP Act to fail to notify the Registrar if any of the details contained on the FSPR are no longer correct. Failure to notify could result in a fine of up to $10,000.
We have discretionary power to waive a levy (in whole or part).
We will only do so if we are satisfied that the circumstances or characteristics of the financial markets participant are exceptional when compared with the circumstances or characteristics of others in the same class, so that it would make it inequitable for the person to pay the levy. The threshold is deliberately high.
The waiver power is not intended to be used to revisit settled policy positions.
Once we receive a waiver application and the fee, we will assess it. If we decide to grant the waiver, we must notify our decision in the Gazette, and publish the decision and reasons for it on our website.
How to apply for a levy to be waived
You will need to email the following information to email@example.com with the subject line ‘Levy waiver application’.
Name of person or entity applying for the waiver.
Contact person for correspondence concerning the application including address, phone number and email.
Indicate the persons/entity who will receive the benefit of any waiver granted.
Specify which class(es) you seek a waiver from and whether a waiver is sought from the full levy or part and the amount thereof.
Let us know your preferred date for any waiver to take effect.
Explain why the waiver should be granted and why your circumstances are exceptional when compared with others in the same class.
Provide all relevant facts in support of your application.
Explain any regulatory benefit of FMA granting the waiver.
Give details of any previous contact with officials (including their names) at FMA or MBIE (including the Companies Office) on the matter.
How to pay your waiver application fee
You can pay by electronic deposit or internet banking. Payment can be made by applicants or law firms making applications on behalf of their clients.
The person paying the application fee must be the person who pays the subsequent fees and costs. For example, if a law firm pays the application fee, that law firm must also pay any additional fees and costs.
We recommend if law firms apply for waivers on behalf of their clients, the parties discuss and agree who will be responsible for paying the FMA’s fees before submitting a waiver application.
How to pay
Electronic deposit or internet banking
Where bill pay is available please select ‘Financial Markets Authority - Other' Otherwise, our bank details are: Bank: Westpac Account name: Financial Markets Authority Account number: 03-0584-0198005-000
To ensure we process your payment correctly please provide the following information: Particulars: Payer’s name* Code: Waiver Reference: Applicant’s name You do not need to forward a hard copy of your application if paying electronically
* This is the name of the person paying the application fee. This person will be invoiced for any subsequent fees and costs. Payment by credit card is not available for this application process.
What are the fees
A payment of $1,265 should accompany each application.
This covers the application fee of $115 set out in the Financial Markets Authority (Fees) Regulations 2011 and an advance of $1,150 (including GST) for fees and costs to be incurred.
These regulations set out charging rates of $230 (including GST) per hour for time spent by FMA Board members and $178.25 (including GST) per hour for time spent by FMA staff.
These regulations are set by MBIE.
How long does it take
Once we have been provided with all relevant information, it generally takes around six weeks to process an application.
This may be longer if any policy questions arise.
If your application is urgent, please provide the date you need the decision by.
You must also provide reasons for requesting urgent consideration.
We offer a pre-registration review service to help issuers and their directors feel more confident that their offer documents are likely to satisfy our expectations. The pre-registration service is only available for certain regulated offers. We focus on reviewing new, novel and complex offers
To get your pre-registration review underway please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org (ensure you insert "PDS HELP" in your subject line).
Schedule 1 of the FMC Act sets out a series of statutory exclusions where lighter compliance paths are appropriate. These include exclusions that are due to the circumstances of the:
offer - for example, an offer through a licensed crowdfunding platform
investor - for example, an offer to a wholesale investor
issuer - for example, an offer by a registered bank.
Depending on the exclusion, limited or no disclosure may be required.
Our Schedule 1 offers table, summarises the circumstances where the disclosure exclusions in Part 1 of Schedule 1 are available and what the associated limited disclosure and other requirements (if any) are for each exclusion.
Offers under Schedule 1, in general, do not trigger the ongoing financial reporting obligations in Part 7 of the FMC Act.
Failure to comply with the Schedule 1 exclusion limited disclosure and other requirements in the FMC Regulations may incur civil and criminal liability consequences. However, your offer won't be invalidated, and the financial products offered won't be invalid, void or voidable.
Peer-to-peer lending service providers obligations
Normally if you want to borrow money direct from the public, the FMC Act requires you to issue a product disclosure statement (PDS).
You do not need to prepare these documents if you are using a licensed peer-to-peer lending provider. Instead you will provide information about your loan request to your provider so they can present your request for investors to read.
Licensed providers are not obligated to accept you as a borrower. They will run some checks on you and if you've got a bad credit history they may decide they won't help you find money.
If you are accepted, you will become a client of the peer-to-peer lending service. The provider will ask you to sign a client agreement that details what you need to do so the provider can monitor and check you.
The service provider can charge for their services.
There are exclusions under Schedule 1 of the FMC Act that allow some offers to be made without having to provide all the usual documentation required, ie product disclosure statements.
One of those exclusions is for small personal offers of debt and equity - see clause 12 of Schedule 1. It allows you to make small offers over a 12-month period that can, in total, involve up to 20 investors and raise up to $2 million without having to produce full documentation. Any offer that would result in you exceeding either or both those limits requires full documentation under part 3 of the FMC Act.
If, over several 12-month periods, you gain more than 50 shareholders from small offers, you'll become a FMC reporting entity.
There is also a requirement to give written notice to the FMA if you have relied on the small offers exclusion. Notifications must be made within 1 month after the end of the accounting period in which the offer was made. Refer to clause 17 of Schedule 8 to the Financial Market Conduct Regulations 2014 for the notification requirements. There is not a specific prescribed form to be completed. Notifications should be sent to the FMA at email@example.com with a subject line “Notification of small offer”. There is no need to notify us if you intend to raise capital using any of the other exclusions.
Companies that raise capital through a licensed crowdfunding platform, relying on classe 6 of Schedule 1, are not considered FMC reporting entities. This is because the offer is not considered a ‘regulated offer’ under the FMC Act.
Instead, these companies will be subject to the financial reporting requirements under the Companies Act 1993.
Offering financial products in New Zealand and Australia under mutual recognition
This is a guide for New Zealand and Australian issuers offering financial products or interests in managed or collective investment schemes in both countries.
New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Korea and Thailand have agreed to establish and implement what is known as the Asia Region Funds Passport. Once implemented, the passport will allow a managed fund based in one jurisdiction to be offered more easily to investors in other participating jurisdictions.
The FMA has wide powers under the FMC Act to exempt persons or transactions from compliance obligations under financial markets law. This allows us to provide a tailored approach and ensure requirements for businesses are reasonable and cost-effective. We are aware that issues may arise for market participants operating under the FMC Act regime, and exemptions may be required in some cases. More information about Exemptions.