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Exposure draft in Feb

28 Jan 2017

After a delay caused by the Kaikoura earthquake, MBIE says that an exposure draft of the new Financial Advisers Act should be ready for distribution before the end of February with the aim of introducing a Bill to Parliament by mid-2017.

"We're working really hard right now with Parliamentary Counsel to get that drafting right" says financial markets policy manager James Hartley who heads the team working on the FAA review.

Following the release of the exposure draft, there is likely to be a consultation period of around six weeks which Hartley says can be really useful to flush out any issues with the drafting, "things that you haven't thought of or could be expressed better."

The consultation process will also include discussion around transitional arrangements for the new regime to ensure that current industry participants have enough time to meet such things as new competency standards, "if there are new competency standards" adds Hartley.

Given that the new FAA Act will be very technical, Hartley says that MBIE will publish a "chunky" companion document alongside the exposure draft to make it more accessible to stakeholders. There will also be additional sessions with the industry to talk through the detail.

The key issues are likely to revolve around new designations for advisers and agents, entity licensing and qualifications which have already generated vigorous debate, and Hartley says "those are the key policy issues at play, so I'm sure that debate will continue."

And while he expects that changes will arise from the consultation process, "the focus is also now on ensuring that the policy decisions that the Government has made will be implemented as well."

However the timing of the legislative process is a little more uncertain. Hartley says that the aim is to introduce a Bill to Parliament around mid-year depending on what changes need to be made to the draft legislation.

While the appointment of Jacqui Dean as the new Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has made no difference to the review process, her office says that the looming general election will make the timing tight.

The FAA review is number two on the Minister's list of priorities (behind cartel reforms), but as a new Minister she will competing against other ministers wanting to push legislation through. According to the a spokesperson, "it's going to be a pretty condensed mad rush to get everything done by the time the election's called."


 - Good Returns

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