FinTech in New Zealand stands as a pivotal sector in the nation’s economic expansion. However, to foster innovation and harness the industry's growth potential, it is imperative to establish a transparent and forward-thinking regulatory framework for fintech enterprises. This will not only incentivize new market entrants to engage and compete with existing entities but also enable established New Zealand firms to venture into the fintech domain, developing novel products and services to cater to contemporary customer demands.

Regulatory landscape

The prudential oversight of fintech in New Zealand is designed to ensure that institutions adeptly manage their own financial risks as well as the risks they collectively impose on the financial system. This oversight encompasses capital and liquidity mandates, corporate governance, and risk management protocols, and is applicable to financial entities such as banks and insurance companies.

When planning to register a blockchain enterprise in New Zealand, it is crucial to acknowledge that innovative service delivery mechanisms inherent in modern business models may have systemic implications and pose risks to financial stability. Below are key considerations for the registration process of a New Zealand fintech company:

  • Standards pertaining to data availability for businesses, and consequently, how such data can be collected and utilized;
  • Potential failures in algorithms employed in artificial intelligence or advisory services;
  • Security concerns surrounding digital network-based offerings;
  • The influence of AML and CTF policies;
  • The application of RegTech to aid in the regulation of fintech activities in New Zealand.

Launching a fintech startup in New Zealand: primary regulators and licensing prerequisites

In New Zealand, the oversight of the fintech sector is vested in several key regulatory bodies:

  1. The FMA is responsible for the licensing and supervision of fintech service providers in New Zealand. This regulator ensures adherence to the following critical legislation:
    • FMCA ’13
    • FAA ’08
    • FSPA ’08
  2. The RBNZ regulates New Zealand's banks, payment institutions, non-bank deposit takers, and licensed insurers, ensuring the stability and integrity of the financial system.
  3. The DIA oversees companies' compliance with AML regulations, ensuring that businesses adhere to national and international standards to prevent financial crimes.
  4. The Comcon is tasked with regulating consumer credit in New Zealand and ensuring compliance with competition laws, thereby safeguarding consumer interests and promoting fair competition.

Obtaining a license in New Zealand

A fintech license in New Zealand encompasses several key activities:

  • Management of investment portfolios
  • Operation of crowdfunding platforms
  • Issuance of derivatives
  • Acceptance of investments from investors and providing investment advice
  • Facilitation of peer-to-peer lending

By navigating the regulatory landscape and securing the necessary licenses, fintech startups can effectively establish and operate in New Zealand's dynamic financial sector.

Entering local IPO market

To initiate an IPO in New Zealand, it is essential to prepare an equity securities offering under the FMCA '13. Token issuers must disclose product information following thorough due diligence. Specific criteria must be met when planning to list on the NZX.

NZX listing key pros

  • Capital augmentation.
  • Enhanced perception by investors, suppliers, and stakeholders through adherence to robust regulatory standards.
  • Increased company and brand visibility in the media, among the public, and within the global investment community.
  • Improved liquidity.

New Zealand presents a contemporary regulatory framework that addresses the needs of both issuers and investors. Additionally, NZX supports companies from a marketing perspective through investor roadshows.

Regulation of equity crowdfunding

Equity crowdfunding in New Zealand is an effective mechanism for raising substantial investment capital. This method enables businesses to raise funds by issuing shares, offering an alternative to formal public offerings on the New Zealand Stock Exchange or private offerings to a limited number of entities. Equity crowdfunding leverages licensed platforms to offer shares to retail and/or wholesale investors.

This fundraising approach allows businesses to secure capital without burdensome regulatory compliance obligations and provides investors the opportunity to diversify their investments across multiple enterprises. The FMCA governs equity crowdfunding in New Zealand, with the FMA serving as the principal regulator for crowdfunding service providers.

Restrictions on equity crowdfunding platforms

The regulatory framework for equity crowdfunding platforms in New Zealand imposes several restrictions:

  • It is possible only after obtaining a Crowdfunding Provider License.
  • Equity crowdfunding offers are capped at raising up to NZD 2 million within any 12-month period.
  • Proposals using a licensed crowdfunding platform must include a succinct warning.
  • Offers must adhere to the general provisions of the FMC Act.

Applications for a license in New Zealand must detail the proposed platform and demonstrate how the minimum standards and conditions for crowdfunding service licenses will be met. The FMA will determine whether to grant a license and may impose specific conditions. Since its inception in mid-2014, New Zealand's crowdfunding model has proven effective in raising significant investment capital and preventing fraudulent offerings, especially in comparison to other jurisdictions.

P2P lending in New Zealand mandates specific loan application criteria, including comprehensive third-party credit assessments and affordability evaluations. This ensures that both borrowers and investors are protected within a regulated framework.

Insurers operating in the fintech sector must obtain a New Zealand insurer license and comply with specific management and capital requirements.

Cryptocurrency activities in New Zealand

Cryptocurrency regulation in New Zealand is still in its nascent stages, with no specific rules dedicated exclusively to digital currencies. However, when issuing or transferring virtual currencies or providing related services, the following legislative frameworks must be considered:


When issuing or transferring cryptocurrencies, including as part of an ICO in New Zealand, it is crucial to determine whether the digital currency qualifies as a “financial product” under the FMCA. If it does, the activity will be regulated by the FMA in the same manner as an IPO. Key categories of financial products under the FMCA include:

  • Equity: ownership interest in a company.
  • Debt: the right to repayment of borrowed funds.
  • Managed investment products: pooled investment schemes.
  • Derivatives: contracts whose value is derived from an underlying asset.

If the ICO involves "utility" tokens (which do not possess investment/financial product characteristics), the offering is not subject to the FMCA regime.

VASPs are regulated under New Zealand's AML Act. The DIA has issued guidance to VASPs, which include:

  • Virtual asset exchanges
  • Crypto wallet providers
  • Digital asset brokers
  • ICO providers

Cryptocurrency issuers and service providers fall under the existing definition of a financial service provider per the FSPA. They must be registered if they provide specific financial services, such as:

  • Issuance or management of means of payment
  • Transfer of money or valuables

Regulation of payment services in New Zealand. Regulatory intervention has been minimal. However, the RBNZ regulatory powers are currently limited to requesting information or data related to the payment system.


New Zealand continues to demonstrate robust growth, having been recognized as one of Asia Pacific's emerging fintech hubs and among the top 10 fintech destinations in the region. The creation of a favorable business environment for registering fintech companies in New Zealand is pivotal in identifying new trends and fostering the development of fintech ecosystems. For expert consultation on fintech regulation in New Zealand, you can seek assistance from TK Deal specialists.