The innovation journey can be peppered with twists and turns as new information comes to light. It pays to be suitably informed on matters relevant to your business idea early on. Relevant information, while accessible, may be spread across multiple sites. To help your early stage research we have curated some of those resources for you.
Here we bring together business and regulation related information that straddle across multiple agencies, as relevant to FinTechs operating in New Zealand.
While this is by no means a comprehensive list, it provides you with an easy access to appropriate information across various different activities that you may undertake as part of your innovation journey.
You should seek further legal advice on elements that are relevant to your fintech business.
Setting up a business
- There’s a lot to think about when you’re starting a business, and it can seem overwhelming – but the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment (MBIE) provides you tips, tools, visual guides, templates and case studies that will point you in the right direction. Find out more about setting up a business in New Zealand.
Business providing a financial service
- In New Zealand, the term ‘financial service’ is defined under the Financial Services Providers (Registration & Disputes Resolution) Act 2008.
- If you undertake any of these activities, you will likely be providing a ‘financial service’ as per Part 5 of this legislation.
- As a financial services provider you have certain obligations under the Act which includes registering on the Financial Services Provider Register (FSPR). The FSPR is managed by the Companies Office, a business unit within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The Registrar of Companies is responsible for the FSPR.
- Note that not everyone who provides a ‘financial service’ needs to register – there are some exemptions. Not all individuals or businesses providing financial services are required to register on the FSPR. There are some exemptions that apply to professionals such as lawyers, chartered accountants, tax agents and real estate agents, who provide financial services as a necessary part of their practice.
- If the ‘financial service’ you offer is targeted at retail clients then you must belong to an approved dispute resolution scheme (DRS). Find out how to choose a DRS.
Financial services requiring licensing or certification
Providing certain financial services also requires you to be licensed, either by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) or the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ).
- Licensed financial services are covered under the following legislations:
- If you or your company are intending to provide credit under a consumer credit contract or if you are a mobile trader selling consumer goods on credit you must be certified under part 5A of the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 by the Commerce Commission before you can offer consumer lending or mobile trader services. You are exempt from this certification requirement if you are already licensed or authorised by the FMA or RBNZ: Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003
Click on each of the below activities to find out more about related licensing and regulatory obligations:
- Client money or property services
- Consumer Credit
- Crowd funding
- Crypto assets
- Derivatives issuer
- Financial Advice and the new Advice regime:
- Financial Market Infrastructure (payments or settlement services)
- Managed Investment schemes
- Non-bank deposit takers
- Peer to peer lending
As a participant in the ‘financial services’ sector you may also have conduct obligations you have to comply with. There is guidance here on conduct obligations and what that means for you.
The type of financial service you provide may also need you to comply with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (the AML/CFT Act). Its regulations place obligations on New Zealand’s financial institutions to detect and deter money laundering and terrorism financing.
The Act is administered by three different agencies depending on the type of activity being supervised. This factsheet provides a handy overview of how it all comes together.
If you are in the business of providing a virtual asset service, this factsheet from DIA provides a comprehensive overview of your obligations.
If your business is a bank, non-bank deposit taker or life insurer, the RBNZ provides an overview of what AML/CFT related obligations apply to you.
Instead, if your business falls into any of the following categories then the FMA has published useful resources here in relation to your AML/CFT obligations:
- issuers of securities
- licensed supervisors
- derivatives issuers and dealers
- DIMS providers
- fund managers
- client money or property service providers
- financial advice providers
- equity crowdfunding platforms
- peer-to-peer lenders.
Fair Trading obligations
As a business, there are rules in the Fair Trading Act 1986 that apply to all aspects of promoting and selling goods and services – from advertising and pricing to sales techniques. You can find out more about consumer law obligations here.
Anyone who runs a business in New Zealand must comply with the Commerce Act 1986, which aims to promote competition in markets for the long-term benefit of consumers. You can find out more about your competition law obligations here.
If your business is planning on handling personal information of your users, under the Privacy Act, you must follow a set of rules.
The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is the agency that collects tax revenue on behalf of the Government. Find out more about business tax obligations.
Whether you’re a young start-up, an established R&D performer, or want to bring students on board to assist in your R&D activities, Callaghan Innovation provides a number of funding opportunities to help you in your journey.
Business ideas come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Sometimes you need to protect them and there are a few different ways you can do so. If you are unsure, the Intellectual Property Office of NZ (IPONZ) has provided some useful resource for you to help protect your IP.
The New Zealand Financial Innovation and Technology Association (FinTechNZ) is a purpose driven industry working group and inclusive community of financial services providers, technology innovators, investor groups, government regulators, financial educators and people who care about financial technology innovation and adoption. Find out more about FinTechNZ.
Scale-Up NZ is a free platform you can use to navigate New Zealand’s business and innovation ecosystem. Use it to find and connect with collaborators and investors, track recent deals and investments, search for key players by sector or business stage, and explore up-to-date market data.
Exporting with NZTE
When you have big business ambitions in a small country, exporting can be a natural next step. But that doesn’t mean it comes naturally. Growing your business overseas can be tough and getting the right support at the right time can make all the difference. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise can help, by drawing on a global network of expertise and contacts to help exporters make better decisions and connections, wherever you are in the world.
Our service provides you with regulatory guidance only. Prior to launching your product we highly recommend that you seek professional legal advice from advisors well versed in New Zealand’s financial markets law, who can advise on your particular situation. Click here for a list of lawyers registered with the New Zealand Law Society. You can search by specific practice areas.
The New Zealand Treasury has always recognised the importance of the diverse outcomes of government interventions. Find out more about The Living Standards Framework (LSF) which formalises this by drawing on OECD analysis starting with four capitals to organise indicators of sustainable inter-generational wellbeing.
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