2 May 2011

New financial regulator begins work

7:03 pm on 2 May 2011

New regulator the Financial Markets Authority is now up and running, with the explicit aim to restore investor confidence.

The beefed-up regulator says New Zealand needs to be seen as a good place to invest, and that will help attract more capital to fund local businesses.

The FMA says it'll set clearer rules for how markets and firms should operate to a higher standard, and it will more consistently and strongly enforce those rules if flouted.

Chief executive Sean Highes says investors can expect access to more timely and better quality information and higher standards of financial advice.

Mr Hughes says the authority will be looking at all the cases it's inherited from the Securities Commission before deciding how to handle them.

He says it is considering taking tougher action against the notorious and persistent stock buyer, Bernard Whimp.

Mr Whimp has made a number of so-called "low ball" offers to buy shares in listed companies, at prices substantially below what they trade at on the market.

Mr Hughes, says it's considering forcing Mr Whiimp to include a warning notice about his activities in any future offers he makes.