Council of Financial Regulators says climate change, financial inclusion and consumer engagement, residential property insurance, plus conduct and governance are on its agenda

Council of Financial Regulators says climate change, financial inclusion and consumer engagement, residential property insurance, plus conduct and governance are on its agenda

The Council of Financial Regulators (CoFR), a forum for New Zealand authorities with responsibility for financial sector regulation, says its priorities over the coming year include climate change, financial inclusion and consumer engagement, plus conduct and governance.

The CoFR has been operating since 2011 as a forum for agencies with responsibility for financial sector regulation. It includes the Reserve Bank (RBNZ), Financial Markets Authority (FMA), the Treasury, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and the Commerce Commission. 

A statement from the CoFR says its work programme for the year ahead includes seven separate work streams. Each will be led by one of the CoFR members, but involve all the other members as well, plus other government agencies as necessary. This, the CoFR says, is a coordinated effort to tackle issues that reach across the financial system.

The CoFR work streams are:

  • Climate change (led by Reserve Bank of New Zealand) – to facilitate a smooth transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy, while supporting the soundness and efficiency of the financial system.
  • Financial Inclusion and Consumer Engagement (led by Commerce Commission) – to coordinate the work of CoFR members to improve consumers’ access to, and understanding of, financial services, particularly in hard-to-reach communities.
  • Conduct and governance (led by FMA) – to develop coordination and joint action on governance and conduct issues, and to ensure that banks and insurers maintain progress in these areas.
  • FinTech (led by FMA) – to ensure the regulatory system facilitates innovation that improves outcomes for customers and financial system participants.
  • Residential Property insurance (led by the Treasury) – to support resilience, affordability and consumer information in the residential insurance market, while managing costs and risks to the Government.
  • Credit unions (led by Reserve Bank) – to work together on the health and sustainability of the credit union sector.
  • Review of the Regulatory System Charter (led by MBIE) – to promote active stewardship of the financial markets regulatory system, taking into account proposed changes to the responsibilities of the different CoFR agencies.

The CoFR meets formally quarterly to discuss financial markets regulatory issues, risks and priorities. It includes senior leaders from each agency member with representatives of other regulatory agencies and public authorities sometimes invited.

Its main objectives are to:

  • Develop a collective view on longer-term strategic priorities for the financial system;
  • Identify and monitor important issues, risks and gaps in the financial system that may impinge upon achievement of member agencies' regulatory objectives;
  • Agree collaborative responses to issues that require cross-agency involvement and put in place appropriate mechanisms to deliver them.

Chairing the CoFR alternates between RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr and FMA CEO Rob Everett.

“I am pleased to set out this ambitious work programme for the Council of Financial Regulators. This shows that different agencies with different responsibilities can work together to deliver real benefits to consumers of the financial services sector,” Orr says.

“These work streams will focus CoFR agencies’ coordination efforts over the coming years. The result will be agencies collaborating where this adds value and ensuring clarity about roles and responsibilities for the financial system," says Everett.

The CoFR's vision can be found here.

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