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Advice

Export Financial services and fintech to New Zealand

Free Trade Agreement export guide

Overview

Financial services are already an important part of the UK’s services trade relationship with New Zealand. In the four quarters to the end of Q3 2022, Insurance and Pensions, Business Services and Financial Services accounted for over half of the services exports to New Zealand. In Fintech, the UK is a key player, employing over 75,000 people and making up around 10% of a global market which is forecast to grow to £380 billion by 2030.

The UK-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) secures important commitments to facilitate cross-border financial services, including for the insurance and asset management sectors. The FTA also ensures the free flow of financial data across borders, and includes provisions to promote innovation in financial services in both countries.

Professionals, such as accountants and management consultants, will be able to operate in New Zealand more easily through more certain business travel. In fintech, the FTA will allow UK companies to build on the already excellent links between the UK and New Zealand for bilateral fintech trade and investment.

Whilst the New Zealand market is relatively small, it is also dynamic, with tech savvy consumers and a sophisticated, profitable financial services sector.

UK Finance Icon

In the four quarters to the end of Q3 2022, Insurance and Pensions, Business Services and Financial Services accounted for over half of the UK's services exports to New Zealand

Growing Business Icon

The UK is a key player in Fintech, making up around 10% of a global market which is forecast to grow to £380 billion by 2030

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The UK fintech sector employs over 75,000 people


What opportunities are there in New Zealand?

Are you a fintech company looking to establish or expand operations in New Zealand? More options for business travel, increased access to procurement and changes to the data storage rules, will make it easier for your business to access and operate in the New Zealand market.

Are you an insurance provider with an appetite to provide insurance for large risks? The FTA opens up the New Zealand market to you, allowing you to provide a much wider range of categories of insurance cover.

Are you a global investment company, based in the UK, who wants to increase their presence in New Zealand? Investment thresholds have more than doubled to $200 million NZD before being reviewed by the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office. Increased certainty around short-term business travel will allow you to better plan resourcing.

How can the FTA help you seize opportunities in financial services?

Recognition of professional qualifications (RPQs)

To support this important sector, the FTA commits the UK and New Zealand to encourage their regulators to establish and maintain routes to recognising each other’s professional qualifications, which could remove costly and burden some requirements.

The Professional Services Working Group will help to monitor and drive results on the recognition of professional qualifications by facilitating engagement between UK and New Zealand governments and relevant regulatory bodies.

Procurement

UK companies will have a legally guaranteed right to bid for contracts for financial and business services procured by New Zealand government bodies covered by the FTA. This will help UK businesses compete on an equal footing with New Zealand companies.

Free flow of data

The FTA harnesses the potential of digital technologies, to make all forms of trade cheaper,easier and faster. It ensures the free flow of trusted data and world-leading standards for personal data protection. It also ensures the legal recognition of electronic contracts and signatures.It allows our businesses to trade and invest more freely, sets new global standards and creates opportunities for the UK and New Zealand to collaborate on shared challenges.

Traders can conclude contracts electronically secure in the knowledge that both the UK and New Zealand have committed to recognising their validity. The UK and New Zealand have also committed to not deny the validity of electronic signatures and other forms of trust services on sole grounds of being in electronic form.

Easier business travel

Business travel is an important contributor to enabling more trade and investment. The FTA will bring greater certainty and access for British professionals looking to deliver services in person in New Zealand. The FTA applies to business professionals under the following categories:

  • Business Visitors
  • Intra-Corporate Transferees
  • Contractual Service Suppliers
  • Independent Professionals
  • Installers and Servicers

For contractual service suppliers, New Zealand has committed to allowing UK business persons across a number of key sectors to deliver contracts in New Zealand. This includes professionals such as accountants, financial service providers and more.

Intra-Corporate Transferees will now have certainty that they are able to work in New Zealand for up to three years and bring their partners and dependant children with them to New Zealand for that time. For work visas granted for longer than 6 months a Partner of a Worker Work Visa may be available for spouses.Company transferees will not be subject to economic needs tests or quantitative restrictions and New Zealand has committed to a target of processing visa applications for Intra-Corporate Transferees within 15 days of the application being submitted, where practicable. For full details, please see here.

Prospective visa applicants should check with New Zealand Immigration for full visa details and eligibility criteria. Please note that final visa names are set by the destination country and may vary from the FTA business travel category titles.

Investment

Fewer UK investments will need to pass under New Zealand's overseas investment regime, with only those over $200 million New Zealand Dollars and those in certain sensitive sectors being subject to review. This is a doubling of the UK's previous threshold. For the first time New Zealand agreed to a whole economy market access provision within the Investment chapter,reflecting improved market access for all investors in addition to easier processes.

New Zealand has gone further than ever before on removing nationality and residency requirements for senior managers and boards of directors, allowing UK companies to maintain control over business operations and recruitment.

UK investors will be covered by a range of investment protections. This includes expropriation and minimum standard of treatment provisions which guarantee UK investors protection from the unlawful expropriation of assets, and discriminatory, unfair, or arbitrary treatment by New Zealand.

For more information, please see here.

How can the FTA help you seize opportunities in fintech?

The fintech sector continues to grow fast in New Zealand. In 2021, the TIN200 report said that New Zealand fintechs are the second fastest growing sector, and the third largest by revenue, within the top 200 tech exporters. The sector has a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32%. (Source: FinTech NZ Report, 2022) New Zealand has a lucrative banking sector, currently dominated by four Australian banks, one state-owned bank, and two insurance companies.

Industry body Fintech New Zealand has a proactive presence championing global links and collaboration. The “FinTech Accelerator programme” run by KiwiBank in partnership with Xero, provides opportunities and support for UK fintechs interested in developing their business in New Zealand. Xero also has its own 'Rewired’ programme for start-up and scale up businesses. UK fintech’s Revolut, GoCardless and Wise (formerly TransferWise) are already successfully doing business in New Zealand.

“The profitability in the New Zealand financial sector should provide opportunities for innovative fintech companies. International experience shows that fintech companies have disrupted existing business models and captured consumer market share directly in specific verticals like payments and money transfer, wealth management, personal finance and consumer banking.

Similarly, the healthy returns of incumbent New Zealand financial companies will be attractive to fintech companies that can provide B2B solutions. Fintech companies can help established banks and other financial service providers work more efficiently with innovative technology solutions to improve existing business practices in areas like customer onboarding, regulatory compliance and data analytics.” (Source: FinTech Future, FinTech NZ, June 2020)

The FTA will cut red tape for advanced tech and services companies and make it easier for smaller businesses to break into the New Zealand market. It does this by ensuring the legal validity of electronic contracts, electronic signatures and electronic authentication. It also provides a foundation for cooperation on electronic invoicing and digital identities.

Digital innovation and emerging technologies will have important roles in promoting economic competitiveness and facilitating trade and investment. New Zealand and the UK shall cooperate as appropriate on matters of digital innovation and emerging technologies by exchanging information, sharing best practices on the implementation of law and policies in matter of enforcement and compliance.

Additional information for selling services in New Zealand

Providing services in New Zealand will have other consequences including for tax, intellectual property and local labour regulations.

Please refer to the following for more advice:

New Zealand Customs Service

New Zealand Intellectual Property Office

Employment New Zealand

Inland Revenue

Doing business in New Zealand

The UK and New Zealand share a common language and culture, as well as business and legal practices such as intellectual property (IP) protection and the rule of law. These similarities make New Zealand a relatively easy place for British companies to do business.

New Zealand is a highly educated, wealthy and tech-savvy market where around 42% of the population live in New Zealand’s 3 major cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch making it easy to prioritise where to test and launch your product or service.

New Zealand is also a logical onward step for UK companies to test the market when already doing business in Australia.

Legal disclaimer

The information provided on this webpage is for guidance only and should not be relied on as a substitute for your own research or independent advice. No investment and/or business decision should be made solely on the basis of information presented in this document. It is recommended that an independent due diligence investigation is conducted before entering into engagement with any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned. DBT accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage caused to any person as result of any error, omission, inaccurate or misleading statement in this document. The accuracy, completeness or up-to-dateness of the content of any website mentioned in this document is not guaranteed in any way, implied or explicit.

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