FMA (NZ) juggles its leadership team as it awaits new Chief Executive

Karthik Subramanian

The Financial Markets Authority of New Zealand, Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko, has announced the appointment of its current Head of Enforcement, Karen Chang, as its action General Counsel.

NZX publishes regulatory agenda

This change is one among a set of changes that have been made as the regulatory body awaits the joining of its new Chief Executive Samantha Barrass in January 2022 subject to Covid-19 regulations. She will be replacing the outgoing CE Rob Everrett who will be leaving the FMA effective November 1 after having spent the last 7.5 years as the CE of FMA.

The current General Counsel, Liam Mason, has been appointed as the acting Chief Executive effective from November 1 and since the post of General Counsel would then fall vacant, Ms. Chang has been appointed in his place. As Acting General Counsel, Ms. Chang will lead the policy and governance, corporate legal, investigations, and enforcement functions for the FMA and joins the executive team.

Ms. Chang was previously a Senior Crown prosecutor at Meredith Connell, and she joined the FMA as Head of Enforcement in 2017. She has wide experience in commercial litigation, regulatory litigation, and criminal prosecution, in New Zealand, Australia, and New York and this would stand her in good stead as she executes her job as General Counsel for the body.

Ms. Chang has been responsible for executing the FMA enforcement strategy, leading cases ranging from fair dealing breaches and insider trading to AML/CFT contraventions and several fraud cases. These are challenging cases for any regulatory body, especially to make the proofs valid in court and take the cases through to prosecution and completion.

Margot Gatland, a manager in the Enforcement team, will be appointed as Acting Head of Enforcement while Ms. Chang carries out her new role. Ms. Gatland joined the FMA in 2017 from the Serious Fraud Office and has a background in regulatory, criminal, and civil litigation predominantly acting for the Crown. The regulatory body is likely to have its hands full in the coming months with a lot of changes happening in the trading world. Till a few years back, getting a license in NZ was one of the easiest things that an FX broker could do as a result of which a lot of scams and fake brokers came into the market with licenses from NZ. This led to a very bad name for the regulatory body in the country after which the FMA decided to clean up its act and nowadays, it is regarded highly within the FX industry.

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