Money Editor for NZ Herald

Deal allows financial advisers to cross ditch

Sean Hughes, head of the Financial Markets Authority. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Sean Hughes, head of the Financial Markets Authority. Photo / Mark Mitchell

New Zealand and Australian financial advisers will be able to operate in both countries under a new cross-border agreement.

The Financial Markets Authority and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission have signed a deal to allow mutual recognition of the qualifications and experience acquired in either country from July 6.

FMA chief executive Sean Hughes said the agreement was a significant step towards a single economic market between the countries.

"It is important that we have taken this early initiative in the area of financial advice - which is so critical to the financial health of our communities on both sides of the Tasman."

Nigel Taite, president of the Institute of Financial Advisers, said the move would be good for both advisers and the public. "We have got less than 2000 authorised financial advisers and just about two million people in KiwiSaver - there are more people than can be handled."

Taite said allowing more Australian advisers to operate in New Zealand might take the pressure off having qualified financial entities such as banks give advice.

It would also be positive for Kiwi advisers whose clients moved back and forth across the Tasman for work.

"It's part of closer economic relations. We see a single market or a common market going forward. We see this as being a positive," Taite said.

The deal allows Australian qualified advisers to apply to be an authorised financial adviser based on their existing Australian qualifications.

An FMA spokesman said all advisers must still meet good-character tests, which would take into consideration any disciplinary action or criminal convictions in their home country.

"The arrangements ... only provide an exemption from the educational qualifications."

All financial advisers in New Zealand had to become licensed from July last year.

- NZ Herald

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