CoFR celebrates significant milestones

11 October 2021

The Council of Financial Regulators (CoFR) has marked its tenth birthday with a series of firsts, including recruiting its first adviser and having its role recognised in legislation. Made up of the RBNZ, FMA, Treasury, MBIE and the Commerce Commission, its members have also signed an updated memorandum of understanding committing to open and collaborative engagement.

CoFR’s work includes collaboration to manage regulatory burden on a sector that has multiple regulators and policymakers, benefiting both industry and consumers.

“These are significant milestones in CoFR’s development. Continued cooperation and information sharing will result in better, more informed and more coordinated regulation of New Zealand's capital and financial markets,” says Simone Robbers, Reserve Bank Assistant Governor and General Manager of Governance, Strategy and Corporate Relations.

Liam Mason, FMA General Counsel, says, “We are looking forward to welcoming Daryl Collins into his new role as Principal Adviser to CoFR. This role will support CoFR members to focus on their key priorities and deliver collaborative responses to issues requiring cross-agency involvement.”

Since the initial formation of CoFR, CoFR members have responded to the IMF’s Financial Sector Assessment Program in 2017, launched the joint RBNZ/FMA conduct and culture review, and developed joint responses to the effects of Covid-19 on the financial sector, including a coordinated programme to defer certain regulatory initiatives so that financial services firms could focus on supporting their customers. 

CoFR is working to respond to vital issues, for example by establishing joint training for supervisors in assessing the risks from climate change.

The MoU is intended to encourage the exchange of information between the agencies building on existing bilateral agreements, with the ultimate purpose to share ideas and plans for regulation or emerging risks and trends within the CoFR forum.

Coming into force in July next year, the new Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act (RBNZ Act) 2021 will recognise CoFR as a significant player in promoting and protecting financial stability and ultimately the prosperity and wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

All of this follows the recent 10th birthday of CoFR’s establishment, after the then Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard chaired its first meeting in September 2011. Since that first meeting, CoFR representatives have met quarterly to discuss issues, risks and priorities for financial markets.

CoFR has established a Banking Forum to improve communications with the banking sector, and a similar Insurance Forum is being developed as part of CoFR’s continuing commitment to improve cross-agency and sector engagement to ensure efficient and effective regulatory outcomes across the financial services sector.