Media Release
July 20, 2017

FSF supports fast-forwarding access to Robo-Advice

Robo-Advice, Digital-Advice, Automated-Advice. Whatever you choose to call it, the appetite to access financial advice online is growing, and New Zealand’s legislation is yet to catch up.

The law is currently hindering the development of personalised robo-advice models in New Zealand, as it states financial advice must be given by a natural person.

But a recent Consultation Paper released by the Financial Market Authority (FMA) means Kiwis could soon be able to access responsible financial advice faster than ever from their smartphone or laptop.

The Financial Services Federation (FSF) has submitted in support of the Consultation Paper: proposed exemption to facilitate personalised robo-advice, which could accelerate the provision of personalised robo-advice services ahead of law reforms which aren’t likely to take effect until 2019.

Financial Services Federation Executive Director, Lyn McMorran, says their members are experiencing an exponential increase in demand for digital access to consumer credit contracts and credit-related insurance products.

“It is essential that the law keeps up with this demand to ensure adequate consumer protection, without stifling innovation,” McMorran says.

“Currently, the cost of accessing financial advice through an Authorised Financial Advisor (AFA) or other human adviser makes such access unaffordable for many New Zealanders. This means that people who do access advice on a person-to-person basis tend to be those with lump sum amounts of money to invest, rather than those people starting out to build their nest eggs,” McMorran says.

The Financial Services Federation says it is possible for providers of consumer credit contracts and credit-related insurance providers to meet their Lender Responsibility Principles as per the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act (CCCFA) in a digital environment.

The Financial Services Federation’s submission is made on the basis of the strong belief that for providers of consumer credit contracts and credit-related insurance products, the conduct obligations that should apply are the Lender Responsibility Principles of the CCCFA, and not those of the Financial Adviser’s Act (FAA). The Financial Services Federation is eager for an outcome in which these providers are not subject to the provisions of the FAA, to avoid the anomaly of being double-regulated by two separate and competing pieces of legislation.

The Financial Services Federation commends the Financial Markets Authority for having started the conversation, and opening the possibility of an exemption to allow for robo-advice.

See the Financial Services Federation’s full submission.
See the Financial Markets Authority’s Consultation Paper: Proposed exemption to facilitate personalised robo-advice.

The Financial Services Federation (FSF)
The Financial Services Federation (FSF) is New Zealand’s largest industry organisation representing responsible, non-bank financial institutions.
The FSF has a strict joining criteria and takes a “quality over quantity” approach to its membership.
The Federation currently has 56 members, all of which are subject to a Code of Conduct which ensures its reputation as the setter of industry standards in responsible lending.
In 2009, FSF released the Responsible Lending Guidelines to inform consumers about what they should expect from a lender when borrowing money. The Federation also joined forces with New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services to develop the Code of Responsible Borrowing to inform consumers of what they need to know and their obligations when borrowing.

For all media enquiries, image and interview requests, please contact Hannah McKee, at hmckee@fsf.org.nz.

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