The Committee heard submissions in Auckland on the Financial Markets Conduct Bill.  Submitters commented as to how the Bill could be improved and noted specific concerns, such as:

  • Financial Professionals discussed how the product disclosure statements and the register will work in practice, submitting that they may act as two separate documents aimed at different types of investors.   
  • Auckland Law Society submitted that procedural issues in the Bill require more certainty, such as the FMA's 'call-in' power which allows the FMA to react to an issue.  The Society also stressed the importance of confidentiality so that an offer is not tainted if the FMA finds no issue with it.
  • The New Zealand Shareholders' Association submitted that the Bill's definitions are too broad, which may cause interpretation problems.
  • Merlin Consulting submitted that debt issuers should be able to undertake ownership reporting and suggested areas where technology could be better utilised.

A number of submitters commented as to the entities that should be excluded from the Bill including retirement village interests (Retirement Village Association of New Zealand), employee superannuation schemes (Foodstuffs) and trusts for the benefit of family members (Shareholders' Association).  The Trustee Corporations Association submitted that custodians should be licensed under the Bill. 

A core area of focus of submissions from law firms (including Russell McVeagh, Bell Gully Chapman Tripp, Simpson Grierson and Buddle Findlay) was liability and defences.  In particular, submitters are concerned that liability might extend to employees, company officers and professional advisers as well as the issuer due to the broad definition of "contravention".   The Institute of Directors in New Zealand share concerns about liability, submitting that there needs to be clarity about the definition of criminal behaviour and the availability of indemnity insurance.