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New Zealand Financial Services Provider (FSP) Registration: General information about NZ FSP

Contributed by Wellington Advisors
06 December, 2019

The 21st century has seen an escalating regulation of the banking industry whereby it has become increasingly difficult to obtain a banking license with increasing government controls and requirements.

The use of the word "bank" creates immediate compliance issues including capital/lending ratios, minimum founding capital requirements and central bank regulation of the institution so much so that few can now meet the onerous requirements of most jurisdictions including the traditional offshore tax havens.

New Zealand has however legislated for the fast and relatively uncomplicated creation of a corporation which can operate virtually in the same manner as a bank whilst avoiding the restrictive controls of banking legislation. Under the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dissolution Act 2008 ('the Act'), a New Zealand company can be registered as a financial services provider. This means that the company is effectively registered by the Ministry of Economic Development to offer financial services or in the words of the legislation becomes a financial services provider.

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What is a Financial Service

Some examples of common financial services are below:

  • Providing financial advice (including investment planning)
  • Mortgages, saving and cheque accounts, and loans
  • Consumer loans and credit - such as when you buy an item from a retailer on credit or you obtain a cash loan
  • Issuing and managing means of payment (for example, credit and debit cards, cheques, travelers' cheques, money orders, bankers' drafts, and electronic money)
  • Money transfers
  • Foreign currency exchanges - whether buying or selling
  • Money management and/or advice
  • Investment management and/or advice
  • Insurance - including life, health, home/contents, and vehicle

Advantages of Being Licensed in New Zealand as a Financial Services Provider (FSP)

New Zealand is recognized as a premium jurisdiction for the following reasons:

  • There is no minimum capital requirement.
  • It provides the all advantages of all traditional financial centers and is recognized as a true onshore financial centre which is not blacklisted by any jurisdiction or authority in the world.
  • It is not perceived by O.E.C.D. as a harmful tax jurisdiction and has no connotations as a tax haven.
  • It is a member of the O.E.C.D. and World Trade Organization.
  • New Zealand is a member of the British Commonwealth, English is the main language, has a common law system, and the majority of legislation including trust law is founded on British law.
  • It is not a member of the EU and is not influenced by the EU Savings Tax Directive and any future developments (should they be extended to apply to companies or trusts).
  • It is a signatory to the 1922 Hague Convention and can provide Apostilled documentation as well as Notarized documentation.
  • In today's troubled and unstable times New Zealand is considered a safe location and offers long term security. It has a Westminster style Government and together with its administration, is stable and competent.
  • New Zealand has a well-developed infrastructure, including a progressive and robust economy, efficient telephone and internet services, competitive and frequent air travel, experienced reliable professionals serving global clients with trust and company requirements which include legal opinions on tax, trust and company matters, and has reliable internet global banking services.

New Zealand repealed its entire Banking Act in 1995 and thereby facilitated free entry into the business of financial services.

If financial services are not offered to the public in New Zealand, the requirements of prospectus, supervisory trustee and investment statements as set out in Part II of Securities Act 1978 do not apply.

Licensing and Registration

Who needs a License?

Entities and individuals who:

  • live or have a place of business in New Zealand; and
  • are in the business of providing financial services (in New Zealand or overseas) must register to provide that particular financial service on the FSPR.

Those entities and individuals will have to register as a financial service provider (FSP).

This means that entities which provide financial services in the territory of New Zealand are required to become registered as an FSP.

However, if a New Zealand registered entity provides financial services internationally but not for New Zealand clients then it is not eligible to apply for FSP registration. New Zealand legislations do not restrict New Zealand registered companies or Limited partnerships from providing financial services elsewhere.

Once registered, the FSP can offer:

  • Financial adviser service
  • Broking service
  • Acting as a deposit taker as defined in the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989
  • Keeping, investing, administering, or managing money, securities, or investment portfolios on behalf of other persons
  • Providing credit under a credit contract
  • Operating a money or value transfer service
  • Issuing and managing means of payment (for example, credit and debit cards, cheques, travelers' cheques, money orders, bankers' drafts and electronic money)
  • Giving financial guarantees
  • Participating in an offer of securities to the public in either of the following capacities (within the meaning of those terms under section 2(1) of the Securities Act 1978)
  • As an issuer of the securities
  • As a promoter
  • Acting in any of the following capacities (within the meaning of those terms under section 2(1) of the Securities Act 1978) in respect of securities offered to the public
  • Changing foreign currency
  • Entering into derivative transactions, or trading in money market instruments, foreign exchange, interest rate and index instruments, transferable securities (including shares), and futures contracts on behalf of another person
  • Providing forward foreign exchange contracts
  • Acting as an insurer

Providing any other financial service that is prescribed for the purposes of New Zealand, complying with the FATF Recommendations, other recommendations by FATF, or other similar international obligations that are consistent with the purpose of this Act.

Therefore, the activities an FSP can undertake are virtually unlimited and (subject to the laws of the jurisdiction where it operates) there are no restrictions as long as it does not take deposits from the New Zealand public.

Any entity either New Zealand or registered somewhere else can be a New Zealand FSP.

Should you have any question or matter you would like to discuss or clarify with us or Should you like to receive further Information about our application services and fees, our multi-lingual team of business advisors is happy to assist you with all upcoming questions and issues in relation to your company.

You may call or email us, and we will be happy to assist you in a fast and efficient manner.


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