The Financial Services Council (FSC) is in the middle of a “significant growth spurt”, according to chief executive, Richard Klipin.
Klipin said the FSC should hit just under 100 members following its formal merger with Workplace Savings NZ (WSNZ) earlier this year.
The newly-conjoined industry body reported about 80 members after inking the merger deal, including 37 from the original FSC.
“Not all the Workplace Savings members have transitioned yet but we expect more will come across,” he said. “We’re also getting lots of interest from other organisations such as service providers, emerging fintech firms and new KiwiSaver schemes.”
As well as restocking, and expanding, a range of sector working groups – such as the KiwiSaver and investment committee – the FSC would take a “more proactive approach” to public policy engagement, Klipin said.
“Typically, we’ve been responsive to government proposals but we are going to come out with more of our own policy views independent of what others have put on the agenda,” he said.
The forward-looking stance would also play out in the FSC’s Disciplinary Committee (DC) – a high-powered band of legal and corporate bigwigs primarily charged with enforcing the industry body’s code of conduct.
While the DC would rule on FSC code breaches, Klipin said the group of experts was keen to add a “pre-emptive, educative” role.
“They want to challenge what good conduct looks like, not just look at it when things go wrong,” he said.
He said the DC had already met once but had yet to flesh out full operational details. In addition to chair, the barrister Geoff Clews, the DC members include:
- Aliesia Gartrell – Chorus senior corporate counsel;
- Paul Heath QC – barrister and former High Court of New Zealand judge;
- Rob Merkin QC – Professor of Law at the University of Exeter in the UK and Honorary Life President of the International Association of Insurance Law;
- Victoria Werohia – Accident Compensation Commission head of risk and assurance; and,
- Linley Wood – former ASB head of operations and current independent director and not for profit trustee.
The DC can recommend a range of punishments for FSC code breaches ranging from a reprimand to a $100,000 fine.
Meanwhile, the FSC was pressing ahead on moves define what the recent regulatory push for ‘good customer outcomes’ looks like in practice, Klipin said.
The Financial Markets Authority and Reserve Bank of NZ called for the industry to focus on improving ‘customer outcomes’ following their joint regulatory investigation into the local banking and insurance sectors last year.
“But the challenge is to show what good customer outcomes are and then prove that you are delivering them,” he said. “And it’s better that the industry takes up the challenge rather than asking the regulator to define it – if we leave it up to the regulators then we’ve gone from principles-based to black-letter law.”