The Financial Markets Authority wants to work collaboratively with the investment community this year, but warned "we will not be out-gunned," despite its wider remit.

Chief executive Rob Everett outlined the markets conduct regulator's main focus for the year at a Financial Services Council breakfast event with some 200 attendees. Those areas include the new financial advisers regime, scrutiny of investment products branded green and continued work on KiwiSaver schemes, according to his speech notes.

The FMA, alongside the Reserve Bank, published critical reports of banks and life insurers in November 2018 and January 2019, after examples of misbehaviour across the Tasman raised fears there might be similar issues in New Zealand.

Everett said while he was "surprised, disappointed and, occasionally, downright frustrated at parts of the industry," he wanted to offer the carrot and not just the stick.


"For sustainable change within the retail financial services industry, that change must be chosen rather than imposed," he said.

"I accept the line between the two might feel narrow at times. But I am confident from my conversations with those running the banks, the insurers, the fund managers and with financial advisers, that common goals can be found."

At the same time, Everett pointed out the FMA's litigation budget has been tripled to $6 million this year, adding that the regulator will continue to get busier.

The agency is due for another funding review and, with support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, has put forward a number of options to assist its expanding remit.

A consultation paper published Jan. 28 identified three funding scenarios: the current spend model at $45.2m, the base case model at $56.1m and an enhanced case at $60.8m per year. In the 2018/19 year the agency received $37.1m in funding.

The paper also called for feedback on whether this increase should be paid for by levies alone or for Crown funding to also be used.

Submissions close on February 28.