- Certain engagements in New Zealand must be undertaken by a Qualified Statutory Accountant (QSA)
- All New Zealand members with a CPP qualify as a QSA
- A QSA can undertake solvent company liquidations and might benefit from the narrow exemption from certain obligations imposed on "financial advisors" by the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013
Certain engagements in New Zealand must be undertaken by a Qualified Statutory Accountant (QSA).
New Zealand resident members holding a CPP automatically qualify as a QSA.
Members who do not hold a CPP should not undertake a service that requires QSA status.
The services for which QSA status is needed are mostly specialist services such as acting as a trustee for a student fee protection scheme or certifying an investor as an “eligible investor”.
The Insolvency Practitioners Regulation Act 2019 also allows a QSA to undertake solvent company liquidations (i.e. a liquidation of a company to which section 243A of the Companies Act 1993 applies) but not statutory appointments - see here for further information.
In addition, members must be a QSA in order to benefit from the narrow exemption from obligations imposed on "financial advisors" by the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 (FMCA) (as amended by the Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (FSLAA).)
A new financial advisors regulatory regime applies in New Zealand from 15 March 2021. Under this new regime, all members who provide retail clients with financial advice (as defined by the FMCA) will be required to obtain a licence to provide that advice unless their activities fit within the narrow exemptions provided.
The exemption that applies to QSA's is now narrower than the previous exemption provided by the Financial Advisors Act 2008. It is now only available in relation to financial advice (as defined in the FMCA) given in the ordinary course of carrying on the occupation of a QSA, where financial advice is only provided as an ancillary part of carrying on the principal activity of being a QSA, being an activity that is not the provision of financial services.
Essentially, this means that members who wish to reply on the exemption will now only be able to provided financial advice (as defined in the FMCA) where that advice can be rationalised as simply forming part of the accounting services (that are not financial services (as defined by the FMCA)), the member is otherwise providing to the client.
Therefore, members who intend to rely on the exemption should carefully review the revised wording of the exemption to ensure that their activities still qualify for the exemption. If the situation is unclear, members should obtain legal advice.
FSLAA also introduces a new client money or property services regime from 15 March 2021. It contains the same narrow exemption for QSAs. Members should also review whether this new regime applies to their activities. If the situation is unclear, members should obtain legal advice.
Members residing outside New Zealand should contact the NZ Regulation team if they are performing a service requiring QSA status or wish to take advantage of the "financial advisor" exemption.