Financial service providers
All New Zealand-based Financial Service Providers (FSPs) need to be registered to operate within the law.
The registration process is important because it ensures certain people are prevented from working as an FSP, such as those with criminal convictions or those intending to operate unlawfully. For consumers, having an electronic register of FSPs increases the level of transparency and public information about FSPs and their offered services.
If you offer financial services (including financial planning or advice) you most likely need to be registered. If you choose not to register, you could receive penalties including fines, or even imprisonment in some circumstances.
On this page:
- What is a financial service?
- Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR)
- Applying to be registered as an FSP
- Disqualification from being an FSP
- What happens if I don’t register?
- Registration fees
Some examples of financial services that require registration include:
- providing financial advice (including financial planning)
- mortgages, saving and cheque accounts, and loans (services your bank, building society or credit union may offer)
- insurance (including life, health, home/contents, and vehicle)
- money management or advice
- investment management or advice
- consumer loans and credit (such as a retailer selling an item on credit or providing a cash loan)
- foreign currency exchanges (whether buying or selling)
- money transfers.
Entities and individuals in the business of providing financial services are required to register on the Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR). The Register is maintained by the New Zealand Companies Office.
The key objectives of the register are to:
- Provide an electronic register of FSPs, as mandated by the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act (2008).
- Increase the level of transparency of public information related to FSPs, their licensed services and their related dispute resolution schemes.
- Ensure certain people are prevented from being involved in the management of FSPs, such as those with specific criminal convictions.
- Assist New Zealand to comply with its international obligations to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
- Enable FSPs to meet registration and authorisation requirements simply via a single web page.
Applicants will have to meet several requirements before being registered as a FSP:
- You must pass a criminal conviction background check.
- If you provide services to the public (retail clients), you must join a dispute resolution scheme.
- You must not be previously disqualified from registration.
The application process involves:
- Joining an approved consumer dispute resolution scheme, if required. The Companies Office has compiled a list of approved schemes and information on dispute resolution schemes and membership.
- To use the FSPR and make your application, you must first have a RealMe logon and be a registered user of the site. Detailed instructions on this process are available.
Once you have your logon and account set up, then you can start your application online.
Choose the application type you will require from these three options:
Registering an individual as an FSP: A step-by-step guide to registering an individual as an FSP.
Registering a New Zealand registered entity as an FSP: A step-by-step guide to registering a New Zealand registered entity as an FSP.
Registering any other entity or body as an FSP: A step-by-step guide to registering another entity type (such as an unincorporated body) as an FSP.
Dispute resolution schemes
There are different approved dispute resolution schemes that you can join. There is also a reserve scheme.
You must pay the appropriate fees of the particular dispute resolution scheme you choose to sign up to.
You must ensure that you are not disqualified from registration. You are disqualified if you are:
- An undischarged bankrupt.
- A banned director.
- You have a record of fraud or other criminal offences (a criminal history check will be conducted as part of the registration process).
You must also ensure that the directors, senior managers and controlling owners are not individually disqualified.
All FSPs must be registered to legally provide financial services. If they provide, or offer to provide, financial services without current registration, they are in breach of section 11 of the Financial Service Providers (Registration and Dispute Resolution) Act (2008).
If an FSP provides, or offers to provide, financial services while in breach of the Act:
- Individuals face up to 12 months imprisonment or a fine not exceeding NZ$100,000.
- Body corporates such as companies, building societies and credit unions face a fine not exceeding NZ$300,000.
All fees are collected by the Companies Office as part of the application and confirmation processes.
There are a range of fees depending on whether you are registering as an individual or other entity. To view the current fees, visit the Companies Office fees webpage.