New Zealand should have its own inquiry into the financial services sector, says Sam Stubbs, the founder of low-cost KiwiSaver provider Simplicity.

The call comes as a raft of scandals has emerged from Australia's Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry including fees that were charged for no advice by AMP and to clients who were dead by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the parent of ASB bank.

Stubbs, who has previously worked in the insurance and banking sector, said the misconduct in Australia was now too big to ignore here, especially when many of the same companies operate on both sides of the Tasman.

"The Australian Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has been a huge embarrassment for many.


"Stories about industry bad practices have moved from the business section to the front page of the papers.

"The growing litany of misconduct includes selling products costing more, yet with fewer benefits, incentives that rewarded giving poor advice, and even charging dead people."

Stubbs said the time had come for a similar examination of New Zealand's financial industry.

"Politicians, regulators and the industry in New Zealand have been vocal in saying that a similar enquiry is not needed.

"If a commission of inquiry in New Zealand really isn't necessary, why make such a noise about it? "I think about these things pretty simply. If there really is nothing to hide, shouldn't the industry welcome a commission of enquiry? Surely they'd want to be proved as good as they claim to be?"

Stubbs said the main reason offered for why New Zealand didn't need an inquiry was that the regulations differed here.

"Does the industry really want us to believe that, in spite of everything going on in Australia, nothing needs to be done because our regulations are different? Different is not necessarily better."

Stubbs said the other reason given was that there weren't enough examples of wrongdoing to merit an inquiry.


"They all need to look over the ditch, because that was exactly the same reason used in Australia, and it was wrong.

"We all hope it's different here, but let's assume nothing and find out the truth.

Stubbs said New Zealanders had hundreds of billions of dollars at risk through mortgages, KiwiSaver, insurance and savings.

"We should know if our industry is doing the right thing, once and for all. If that costs the Government time and money, so be it. It's worth it given all the money we trust the industry with."

Massey University banking expert David Tripe said New Zealand had not had any whistle blowers or anybody reporting problems with the banks here.

However, New Zealand's banks were owned by the Australian banks which meant the same behaviour could not be ruled out.


Tripe said if a New Zealand inquiry took the same approach as that of Australia it would depend on finding the dirt to start with.

"Having an inquiry on the vague possibility of finding something strikes me as an expensive exercise," he said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has left the door open to a banking inquiry in New Zealand.

Even if New Zealand does not pursue its own investigation, Australia's inquiry will doubtless be of interest in this country because of New Zealand's links with Australian banks, she told Newstalk ZB earlier this week.

Ardern said she was keeping a "very close eye" on the royal commission into the banking and financial sector in Australia.

"Because, of course, the link between our banking institutions and theirs, we'll be looking at what comes out of that."


Asked whether the Government was considering its own inquiry, she said: "I'm not going to leap in right now and say that that's necessary.

"But in a way, by virtue of that work, we will certainly probably have an outcome that will be of use and interest to us."

The Financial Markets Authority, which regulates financial advice, has said it is monitoring the developments at the Royal Commission closely and was in close contact with the Australian regulator ASIC.

"We are engaging with all the businesses involved to discuss the implications for their New Zealand operations."

A spokesman for the Reserve Bank, which regulates New Zealand's banking sector, said it was also closely following the Australian Royal Commission.

"We are aware of media reports of misconduct in banking and other financial institutions.


"We do not have any concerns about the behaviour in the New Zealand institutions that we supervise."