Simon Allen, former managing director of ABN Amro New Zealand, has been appointed chairman of the Financial Markets Authority, which is to become the nation's new regulator for financial markets this year.

Allen, who has previously served as chairman of NZX Ltd. and is currently chair of Crown Fibre Holdings, has been hired for a two-year term for the part-time role, beginning with the establishment of the FMA, Commerce Minister Simon Power said in a statement today.

"This is something we must get right, and with Mr Allen at the helm, the FMA will be well-placed to deliver on its role of rebuilding public confidence to invest in our financial markets after the global financial crisis and the collapse of finance companies," Power said.

The government has already named Sean Hughes as chief executive-designate for the authority. Other board members are to be announced in coming week, Power said. The new regulator is scheduled to be up and running by May.

The appointments are dependent on the Financial Markets (Regulators and KiwiSaver) Bill coming into law and approval from the Governor-General.

The FMA is to combine financial market regulatory functions currently fragmented across the Securities Commission, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Government Actuary and the NZX.