Proper handling of conflicts of interest demanded

A report from Kristy McDonald QC, commissioned by Commerce Minister David Clark, has just been released. Her inquiry focused on disclosure of a conflict of interest involving then FMA chief executive Rob Everett, whose brother-in-law Gary Scott is chief financial officer of KiwiSaver provider Booster.

Although the relationship between Everett and Scott did not influence the appointment of Booster as a default KiwiSaver provider in either 2014 or 2021, Kristy’s report on how the Financial Markets Authority provided advice on KiwiSaver default providers in 2021 is sharply critical of its handling of conflicts of interest.

The report contains a 5 point list of recommendations. 

New FMA chief executive Samantha Barrass said the regulator accepted the report’s findings.

“As the primary conduct regulator of the financial sector, the FMA’s integrity must be beyond reproach,” she said.

“We set high standards for ourselves and are implementing all the recommendations.”

Kristy says the gaps in the FMA CEO conflict management policy might be a government-wide issue.

“It may be that conflict of interest policies of other public service organisations similarly fail to address the unique position of their Chief Executives,” she says in the report. “That question is outside the scope of my Review.”

Read more here

Read the redacted Report here