Watch out white collar criminals on bicycles, the FMA has the power to search your bike

Watch out white collar criminals on bicycles, the FMA has the power to search your bike
Bike riders, including Bernard Hickey, need to watch out for rogue cars and the Financial Markets Authority.

By Gareth Vaughan

Watch out cyclists, the government's new financial markets regulator may have its eye on you.

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA), due to be up and running in place of the Securities Commission from May 1, has some beefed up and broader powers than its predecessor as the government strives to restore "ma & pa" retail investors' shattered confidence in the financial markets after the collapse of dozens of finance companies over the past five years. See our Deep Freeze List here for full details of the collapses.

Among the FMA's powers will be information gathering and enforcement powers. These include search powers for its staff and representatives. Among the things they'll be able to search are email addresses and internet data storage facilities, plus vehicles. The vehicles that FMA snouts may burrow into include the obvious motor vehicles, perhaps in case the collapsed finance company's CEO has hidden something in his Porsche, plus aircraft, trains, ships and even bicycles.

This ability to search bikes was pointed out by Chapman Tripp in a Brief Counsel note on the FMA, where the law firm notes the regulatory waters will lap "higher and colder" from May 1.

Just what the FMA may be concerned could be hidden on, or in, a bicycle is unclear. However, it's worth noting that accountant and former Shareholders' Association chairman Bruce Sheppard, a keen cyclist, was on the FMA Establishment Board and is an associate member of the incoming FMA board.

Former Australian Securities and Investments Commission executive Sean Hughes has been appointed CEO of the FMA. Hughes recently told in a Double Shot interview that restoring ma & pa investors' confidence in the financial markets was a big task and he and the FMA would need plenty of help to achieve it.

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PDK they have you screwed mate. They are going to find your plans for obtaining a monopoly in earh houses that you hide in your seat post.

Gareth a Vehicle = any device propelled by mechanical means. It is pretty standard for this provision to be included in any search warrant. Also give those excercising those powers the ability to enter premises they might not othwise be entitled to if the vehicle is located there.

Usually included something along the lines of "with the dominion of New Zealand".

I suspect what you are talking about is the searh powers without warrant.


What I've seen suggests the FMA needs consent from the person in charge of the vehicle or a warrant from a High Court or District Court judge.

The judge needs to be satisfied that the person has engaged in, or is engaging in, conduct that does, or may, breach any provision of financial markets legislation. They also need to believe that the search will find evidence in or on the vehicle (bike) to be searched as specified in the application.

That would be good news. They don't need the without warrant capability and we don't need a bunch of cowboys running around being overzealous with their powers.

Blast!  I was just going to suggest hiding a memory stick down the seat tube!

How does one 'search an E-Mail address'?