Comparing Emerging Regulations

A bosom buddy of mine, now deceased, when asked what he would do differently if he could live his life over, said: “I would make the same mistakes, just start sooner.”

I have often wondered how the South African regulatory authorities would respond, given a second bite at the apple.

A recent article on an Australian website compares how the authorities in New Zealand and Australia went about implementing regulation, and how the industry reacted to it.

The Aussies started off with the Financial Services Reform Act, 2001, while NZ introduced the Financial Advisers Act in 2008.

The article reiterates the sensitive point that NZ is not only better than Australia and South Africa in rugby.

“While ASIC (the Australian regulator) continued to seek ways to prove its effectiveness as a regulator, enforcing and punishing miscreants based on the rules to be applied, NZ sought to establish a principles based regime overseen by the Financial Markets Authority, the body set up to implement the provisions of the FAA 2008, and to work with the newly established Financial Services Provider Register.”

It is evident from the raft of legislative changes currently under discussion in South Africa that a new order and a new approach is underway in South Africa.

Unfortunately, hindsight, although an exact science, cannot retract what went before, but it can help one implement change in a way that encourages cooperation, rather than confrontation, in the future.

A thorough reading of the article by David Whyte, Chairperson of SuiteBox, will present us as an industry with practical guidelines on how to avoid those dreaded unintended consequences.

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