Fast facts about FSPR: for consumers
Contact the Ministry of Consumer Affairs
MCA administers the government’s reserve Dispute Resolution Scheme and has information on other schemes.
Introducing the Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR)
The FSPR is a searchable online register of people, businesses, and organisations that offer financial services from 16 August 2010.
The government created the FSPR as part of its regime to make the financial services sector more accountable and transparent. The Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008 create the FSPR. You can read or download legislation for free at www.legislation.govt.nz.
The new regime allowed current financial service providers until 1 December 2010 to get registered (unless they are financial advisers, who have until 31 March 2011 to be registered). The FSPR remains open after December to anyone who wants to register, and they must be successfully registered before they can legally provide financial services.
Registration is mandatory
For all financial service providers except financial advisers from 1 December 2010. Financial advisers have until March 2011 to be registered.
The FSPR remains open after December 2010 to anyone who wants to register and they must be successfully registered before they can legally provide financial services.
What is a financial service?
Some examples of common financial services are:
- providing financial advice (including investment planning)
- mortgages, saving and cheque accounts, and loans – services your bank, building society or credit union may offer
- consumer loans and credit – including when you buy an item from a retailer on credit or you obtain a cash loan
- issuing and managing means of payment (for example, credit and debit cards, cheques, travellers’ cheques, money orders, bankers’ drafts, and electronic money)
- money transfers
- foreign currency exchanges – whether buying or selling
- money management and/or advice
- investment management and/or advice
- insurance – including life, health, home/contents, and vehicle
Who is a financial service provider?
Some examples of common financial service providers are:
- Building Societies and Credit Unions
- Broking Services
- Credit Providers
- Credit Unions
- Financial Advisers (including investment planners)
- Money Changers
- Finance Companies
- Foreign Currency Exchange Dealers
- Fund Managers
- Investment Portfolio Managers
- Registered Banks
There are some financial service providers that do not have to register. For example lawyers, chartered accountants, tax agents and real estate agents who provide financial services as part of their practice do not need to register. Non-profit organisations who offer free financial services do not have to register.
Who cannot register?
- People who have been convicted in the last five years of crimes involving dishonesty, such as fraud and money laundering, cannot register or be involved in the management of a registered financial service provider
- Un-discharged bankrupts and banned directors
- Other disqualifications are listed in section 14 of the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008
What should I look for in a financial service provider?
- Check if they are registered on the FSPR – you can search by name or by the type of service they provide. If they are not registered, ask them why this is.
- If they provide financal advice, such as investment planning, they may also have to be authorised. The FSPR will display their authorisation status.
- The financial service provider should be able to tell you their FSP registration number
Registration as a financial service provider is NOT an official approval of an individual, business, or organisation.
How much does it cost to search the FSPR?
Searching and all the information on our site is free.
What is the difference between registration and authorisation?
Registration means that a financial service provider has met certain requirements including passing criminal history checks, and their business information is publicly available on the FSPR.
Authorisation means that a financial adviser has met minimum professional standards, including qualification requirements and proof of good character. They must also meet conduct and disclosure obligations under the Financial Advisers Act 2008. Authorisation is required for financial advisers who provide an investment planning service, give personalised advice or provide a discretionary investment management service relating to complex investment products. Some financial advisers may be covered by their employer’s Qualifying Financial Entities (QFE status) and do not need to be individually authorised. Authorisation status is shown on the FSPR.
What happens if I have a problem with a financial service provider?
Financial service providers who provide services to retail clients (including individual consumers) must be a member of a consumer dispute resolution scheme in order to be registered. The scheme membership for each Financal service provider is shown on the FSPR. If you can’t sort your problem directly with the provider, you can take your complaint to their scheme for free.
What if I find out that my financial service provider isn’t registered?
From 1 December 2010 (and 31 March 2011 for financial advisers), financial service providers must be registered to legally provide their services. If after that date they provide, or offer to provide, financial services without current registration, they are in breach of the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act 2008. If that is the case they might be fined or imprisoned.