Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi says he’s made it clear from the outset that small financial advice businesses need to have their voices heard as the new regime is developed.
The Financial Services Legislation Amendment Bill passed its first reading before Christmas, earlier than had been expected. Faafoi said he kept pressure on that process because he had heard from the industry how important it was that the bill’s progress continued.
He said, both in government and in opposition, he had heard from small financial advice players who were worried their perspective would be ignored as bigger providers were better able to lobby for their interests.
Faafoi said he had heard concerns that the code working group, developing the new code of conduct, was favouring the “big end of town”.
“My clear expectation was given to them at that first meeting that, along with the big players in the market who would serve the majority of consumers in the market, that small industry players who had voiced their concerns were to be consulted with as well, and that is still my expectation.”
He said he was primarily concerned that that the final product decided upon by the working group was for the benefit of consumers.
“I want people to remember that that should be at the heart of everything. I know there are some issues and opinions floating around at the moment, but I would just ask people to stay focused on the job at hand.”
He said if people felt they were not being listened to, they could take that up with the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment or make a formal complaint.
“If people have got issues we’re more than happy to hear those. But I just want to stress, let’s let the code working group do their job with a clear expectation from me that they engage broadly.”