I have a fintech idea that is still in its conceptual stage. Can I still apply to engage with the FinTech forum’s regulatory guidance service?

We encourage you to reach out to us as early as possible, once you have a concept that is reasonably developed. Ideally, at a minimum, you should know what is the pain point you are trying to solve, who you are solving it for, how you are going about it and which areas you think you need our help with. The more comprehensive details you can share about your concept, the better we are in a position to provide you feedback on relevant aspects.

What stage of the journey are the typical businesses that engage with this service?

We see a range of fintechs at all stages of their journey, starting from those with a developed concept and all the way to those that are well-established and seeking guidance on adding new features or customer segments etc. We also have overseas fintechs scoping out opportunities to launch their existing services in New Zealand.

Do I need to have legal representation at the meeting with CoFR agencies?

Having legal representation at the engagement meeting is not a necessity. Having said that, the guidance service only seeks to provide just that – guidance on applicable regulation as relevant to your idea – and is NOT a replacement for formal legal advice. The objective of these meetings is to provide you direction on which regulatory obligations you may need to satisfy, that can inform you on which aspects you will need to seek formal legal advice on.

Where can I get formal legal advice?

As regulators we administer the law. As such, we can’t provide you legal advice. New Zealand is home to a wide choice of legal services firms. Ensure that you engage one that has experience in New Zealand’s financial services related law and preferably those that have experience dealing with fintech businesses.

What happens once I apply for the engagement meeting?

We launched the regulatory guidance service to make your life easier as an innovator on two aspects – identifying the agency relevant to your idea and providing access to the relevant individuals within those agencies. Based on the responses you provide in your engagement request form we will determine who needs to be in the meeting with you from across CoFR agencies. We will then set up a meeting invite for you to join us for a 45-minute conversation.

What preparation do I need to make before attending the meeting?

We find that the most effective meetings are those in which you can provide us with a comprehensive view of your concept/ product. The particular areas that enhance the quality of these discussions include defining the problem statement you are trying to resolve, the user journey you are looking to create, a view on how the different stakeholders fit together in your business model and how you expect to commercialise the idea.

What happens at the engagement meeting?

We like to keep the meetings informal and interactive. After a brief round of introductions, we will invite you to describe your concept to us, as described above. This gives us the opportunity to better understand what you are hoping to achieve and an appreciation of your mission. It also gives us the opportunity to clarify aspects of it that are important for us to know. Based on this we can then provide feedback on the areas that you need to consider, and in some cases, direct you on taking formal legal advice.

Can I have my legal advisor with me at the engagement meeting?

Yes, absolutely. We recommend in this instance that you send through specific areas that you want to discuss so we can invite the right individuals from our end to the meeting.

Can we act on the guidance received at the meeting as binding?

Any guidance provided will be based on the status of regulations as of that date and based purely on what information you have shared with us. As such, we can’t guarantee that any guidance provided is comprehensive, as relevant to your business. We recommend you take formal legal advice prior to launching the product in the market.

Can we make our stakeholders (investors, advisors etc.) aware of the engagement meeting?

Yes, you are allowed to make your stakeholders aware on a need-to basis, of the engagement meeting, but in no way should represent it as an endorsement, permission or license to operate. You must also ensure that your stakeholders are aware that any guidance received is not a replacement for formal legal advice.

What happens after the engagement meeting?

There may be times that we may have to come back to you after the meeting on certain aspects, as we may have to consult other teams within our agencies. We will follow that up with you directly via email or phone and if required arrange meetings with those teams. We will continue to have your details on file. You are welcome to approach us for further guidance at any stage as you progress on your journey. Should you require a license to operate, you could also let us know in advance, so we are aware of your imminent application coming through.

Is there anything else we should be aware of?

Our success depends on how easy you find it to navigate the regulatory frameworks set in place as relevant to your fintech idea. The Fintech forum wants to ensure that you are well informed of your obligations and wants to make it as easy as possible for you to access that information. We have provided links to a whole bunch of resources to help you. We wish you the very best on your innovation journey.

We have a range of curated resources to help your early stage research.

If you have any ideas on how to improve our services, please let us know.

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