The Financial Advisers Act (FAA) exposure draft is on track for a, slightly-postponed, release early in 2017, according to the official heading the project.
James Hartley, Ministry of Business, Information and Employment (MOBIE) financial markets policy manager, said despite missing the initial end-of-2016 publication deadline, the FAA review remained a “high priority” for the government.
“The government has had to reprioritise some resources following the [recent Kaikoura] earthquake but we’re still looking to get the FAA exposure draft out early in the new year,” Hartley said.
He said about seven people (or about two-thirds of his total team) were working on the FAA review along with substantial legal assistance from other parts of MOBIE and the Parliamentary Counsel Office.
“This is a big government reform,” Hartley said with the large team working on the FAA review reflecting the “priority and scale of the job”.
However, he said the work to date had not uncovered any unexpected obstacles to completing the exposure draft in time for its expected introduction into parliament next year.
“It’s helped that we’ve been consulting on this for the last two years, which has flushed out the major issues already,” Hartley said.
“The feedback we’ve had is that people want a relatively simple regime that doesn’t impose overly-high compliance costs on the industry and consumers.”
According to Hartley, the final FAA date with parliament – originally slated for early 2017 – would depend on the amount of feedback during the exposure draft consultation process.
Among other changes, the proposed FAA reforms will introduce: new designations of ‘financial adviser’ and ‘agent’; entity licensing; legalised ‘robo advice’; and, impose client-first duties and higher educational standards across the entire financial advisory industry.
Hartley has also just signed off on the final part of the Financial Markets Conduct Act (FMC) implementation following the introduction of the managed investment scheme (MIS) licensing regime last week.
“It’s been very satisfying to have been part of a once-in-a-generation reform,” he said. “We’ve worked very hard on this for a long time, and so has the industry, so it’s been pleasing to see the transition go smoothly.”
MOBIE had also begun scoping out consumer-friendly alterations to the Disclose website, which houses all the new-fangled FMC-compliant product documentation, Hartley said.
He said the Disclose ‘Investor Portal’ project – intended to transform the website into a more intuitive, product comparison resource – should be underway in the first half of 2017.