Financial sector regulation

Navigating financial sector regulation requires a market leading team of regulatory, litigation and tax specialists.

  • Summary
  • Work highlights
  • People
  • Publications

​Our experts advise and assist on the full spectrum on financial sector regulation – from licensing, compliance and risk management advice through to assistance with communications with regulators and dispute resolution.

We have in-depth technical and market knowledge of all aspects of this complex area of the law – which has undergone extensive reform over the last eight years. In essence, in step with international practice, New Zealand financial sector regulation has become more complex and the local regulators have become increasingly active. Bell Gully has been, and continues to be, closely involved in all aspects of the reform process and is best placed to assist, advise and support clients in this challenging environment.

Our clients come from all sectors of the financial services industry and include registered banks, non-bank deposit takers, FinTech ventures, money remitters, derivatives issuers, superannuation funds, Anti-money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT) reporting entities, NZX participants, insurers, trustees, industry associations, both local and offshore financial service providers, international law firms and most of the global investment banks.

As a team, we work seamlessly across our banking, commercial, tax and litigation specialists. Against this backdrop, we can provide you with clear, concise, expert and commercially effective guidance to enable you to understand and comply with your regulatory obligations.


Anti-money laundering (AML)

Our leading team of legal, regulatory, compliance and dispute resolution specialists can help navigate all aspects of New Zealand’s anti-money laundering (AML) laws, including the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML Act).

Our clients include a broad range of reporting entities that are subject to the AML Act, including domestic and overseas financial institutions, money remitters and finance leasing businesses.

We provide a range of services, including:

  • Legal reviews of, and guidance on, AML compliance documents, such as AML/CFT programmes and risk assessments, for both local and offshore reporting entities.
  • Assisting clients with seeking Ministerial Exemptions under the AML Act.
  • Liaising with the AML/CFT supervisors and the Ministry of Justice regarding questions on the application of the AML Act.
  • Assisting clients to resolve potential breaches of the AML laws, including where the client’s internal controls have identified areas of non-compliance, or where an AML/CFT supervisor has raised concerns. We can provide legal advice on potential breaches and penalties and strategies for resolving the issues and managing contact with the supervisors.
  • Assisting clients with legal aspects of staff and management AML compliance training. Reporting entities subject to the AML Act are required to provide training on AML/CFT matters.

The AML Act regime remains subject to on-going reform, with Phase 2 extending obligations to accountants and lawyers, among others, expected in coming months. We actively monitor and remain up-to-date with all on-going developments in this area.

Bell Gully is best placed to assist both domestic and overseas businesses understand how New Zealand’s regulatory regime applies to their business, and to work with you to address any AML non-compliance issues that may arise.

Banks and non-bank deposit takers
Advise a number of banks and financial institutions on the requirements imposed on registered banks under the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989 and the Non-bank Deposit Takers Act 2013. 

Advised JPMorgan Chase, and the Bank of Baroda on their registration as a bank under the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act. ​

Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance (CCCFA) and Lending Responsibility Code
Assisted a number of clients on the changes they need to make to their customer documentation and internal risk management procedures to ensure compliance with the recent reforms to the CCCFA, including the introduction of the Responsible Lending Code.

Financial advisers, broking and custody regimes
Advise both domestic and offshore financial institutions on the registration, authorisation, conduct and licensing obligations imposed on financial advisers, brokers and custodians under New Zealand’s financial adviser and broking regimes.

HarMoney Limited P2P wholesale unit trust
Acted for the trustee establishing a master unit trust structure and a wholesale unit trust to provide funding to New Zealand's first peer-to-peer lending platform.

Insurance companies – prudential regulation
Advised a number of insurers on licensing requirements under the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2010, including liaising with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and addressing structural and other issues.

Global Investment Banks
Advise our global investment bank clients regularly on all aspects of financial sector regulation (including cross-border securities law compliance). Our clients include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Rabobank, UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Market Services Licensing regime applicants
Acted for a number of applicants (including derivatives issuers) in respect of their application for a market services licenses under the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013.

Financial sector regulation publications
Authors of a number of global financial sector regulation guidelines and publications, including the Simmons & Simmons navigator materials.​

Assisting clients with seeking Ministerial Exemptions under the AML Act
Assisted with seeking Ministerial Exemptions in a wide range of circumstances where strict compliance with the requirements of the AML Act would have created an undue regulatory burden for our clients in light of the purpose of the AML Act.

Liaising with the AML/CFT supervisors and the Ministry of Justice
The AML Act has been intentionally cast in very broad terms and has been in full force for less than four years, which means that ‘grey areas’ concerning the application of the AML laws inevitably arise from time to time. We help our clients by contacting the supervisors directly to get their views and guidance.

Assisting clients to resolve potential breaches of the AML laws
Provided legal advice on potential breaches and penalties and strategies for resolving the issues and managing contact with the supervisors, including in instances where our client’s internal controls have identified areas of non-compliance, and other cases where an AML/CFT supervisor has raised direct concerns about non-compliance.

Assisting clients with legal aspects of staff and management AML compliance training
Provided compliance training to reporting entities which are subject to the AML Act.

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  • David Craig

    Partner Wellington
  • Rachel Paris

    Partner Auckland
  • Murray King

    Partner Auckland
  • Kerry Beaumont

    Senior Associate Wellington