Financial Services Laws General Amendment Bill tabled

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pretoria - The Financial Services Laws General Amendment Bill, 2012, was this week tabled in Parliament, according to the National Treasury.

The Bill, which was released for public comment in March, addresses urgent issues in eleven financial sector laws, including legislative gaps that were highlighted after the 2008 financial crisis and to align these laws with the new Companies Act, 2008, and other legislation.

The Bill, among other things, also seeks to make the Financial Services Board (FSB) the lead regulator where there is concurrent jurisdiction as well as eliminate overlaps caused by the Consumer Protection Act, 2008, Companies Act, 2008 and Competition Commission Act, 2009.

"The Bill aims to ensure that even during the transition to the "Twin Peaks" system, South Africa has a sounder and better regulated financial services industry which promotes financial stability by strengthening the financial sector regulatory framework and enhancing the supervisory powers of the regulators," said the Treasury on Thursday.

Following its initial release for public comment on 9 March, the public comment period was extended from 13 April to 2 May 2012 with a total 33 submission received.

The submissions were thoroughly considered by Treasury and FSB while Treasury also held informative sessions with stakeholders including Cosatu, the Association of Savings and Investments South Africa, the South African Insurance Association, the Banking Association of South Africa and the Institute of Retirement Funds.

"The tabled Bill reflects changes made to take account of the comments received during the consultation process and the 33 submissions received," noted Treasury, adding that the tabled Bill contains substantive amendments to the original Bill.

The new amendments to the FSB Act include the limitation of liability of the regulator if it exercises the powers conferred upon it in terms of statute provided those powers were exercised in good faith ('bona fide') and it clarifies appropriately the interaction between financial and non-financial legislation.

New amendments to the Pension Funds Act include the provision of whistle-blowing protection for board members, valuators, principal/deputy officers and employees who disclose material information to the Registrar as well as extends personal liability to employers in respect of non-payment of pension contributions to a fund.

"The tabled Bill does not introduce substantive amendments insofar as the Long-term Insurance Act and Short-term Insurance Act, Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act and Financial Institutions (Protection of Funds) Act are concerned. It mainly seeks to refine the wording of existing provisions in the original published Bill, to provide clarification to comments received."

The Bill and accompanying documents are available on the National Treasury (www.treasury.gov.za) and Financial Services Board (www.fsb.co.za) website.

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