Maria Collett-Bevan

Senior Associate - Financial Services

Maria is a financial services specialist. She has particular expertise in financial services regulation. She advises on a range of issues related to offering securities and operating financial services or financial advisory businesses in New Zealand.

Maria works with retail and wholesale fund managers, trustee companies, insurers, and other major financial institutions (including, among others, Westpac, Sharesies, TSB, Milford, and Generate). She supports numerous overseas clients with their regulatory obligations (including in relation to applicable exemptions) under New Zealand financial services law.

She regularly advises clients in relation to, and helps prepare, their offer documents, trust deeds, custody agreements, and investment management agreements.  She also assists with the establishment of new schemes and/or funds.  Maria advises on all aspects of the Financial Markets Conduct Act (FMCA) and the suite of financial services legislation generally.  Her FMCA expertise includes discretionary investment management services, managed investment schemes, and the financial advice regime under the Act.  In addition, Maria advises clients on the regulation of cryptocurrencies in New Zealand.

Maria has in-depth knowledge of the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act and the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act (AML/CFT).  She has assisted the wider Corporate team with several merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions involving insurance entities.  Recently, Maria has advised clients on the new climate-related disclosures regime for large listed companies and financial institutions (also under the FMCA).

Her work involves regular engagement with the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) and Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).  She provides comprehensive and practicable advice to clients, including an understanding of the regulators’ approach to aspects of the financial services regime.

Ranked as a Rising Star in Investment Funds by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific, Maria is a reliable, responsive legal adviser, who is an expert in her field.  She has built strong, ongoing relationships with significant financial services clients.  She understands the complexities and sensitivities involved in working on high-profile matters and with such key industry participants.

An active contributor to thought leadership, Maria frequently writes articles for insurance publications such as Cover to Cover (the firm’s insurance legal industry magazine) and Covernote (an online insurance magazine).

Maria started her legal career with another top tier New Zealand law firm, before working in offshore funds and banking for Babbé, a Guernsey law firm.

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Professional background

Recent work

Sale of Aon NZ retirement savings business

Advising Aon NZ on the sale of its $1 billion FUM retirement savings business (including Aon KiwiSaver) to Fisher Funds, including the transfer of shares in AonSaver Limited and Superannuation Nominees Limited and the assignment and/or novation of relevant contracts.

Transitioning TSB Bank to the new Financial Advice Regime

Assisting TSB Bank (and others, including certain insurers, and several adviser and fund manager businesses) with the transition of their financial advice services under the new Financial Services Legislation Amendment Act adviser regime.  This included strategic advice on their obligations, licensing, and training requirements. The work also involved significant engagement with the FMA as regulator.  This formed one of the largest compliance projects undertaken by TSB in recent years and was vital to their strategic direction.

Advising Westpac on the new Financial Advice Regime

Providing extensive advice to Westpac on the requirements under the new financial advice regime, including on training, disclosure, and the structure of their financial advice model.

Milford funds

Helping Milford Asset Management over many years with its award-winning funds management and financial advice business, including KiwiSaver assets, which continues to grow to over $87 billion. This has included advising Milford on a wide range of issues impacting their business with the advent of COVID-19 (including, for example, the impact of market volatility on pricing for their managed investment schemes).  It has also included establishing multiple new funds, assisting with disclosure documents, regulatory advice, and assisting with the transition to the new financial advice regime.

Advising various entities regarding Trusts Act requirements

Assisting a range of financial service providers (including Milford, Westpac, and Generate) with changes required to managed investment scheme governing documents in light of the Trusts Act 2019 (with the Act largely coming into force in January 2021).  This included providing advice regarding how the Trusts Act interacts with the governance provisions in the FMCA.

Financial Services Council of New Zealand

Acting for the Financial Services Council (FSC) of New Zealand in respect of its merger with Workplace Savings NZ Incorporated.

Advising BNZ regarding YouWealth and DIMS

Advising BNZ on its YouWealth managed investment scheme (YouWealth) and discretionary investment management service (DIMS).  This included liaising with MBIE, the FMA, and the FSC to develop and obtain approval of wording for product disclosure statements reflecting the new tax laws in relation to prescribed investor rates.

Admitted

  • 2011, New Zealand

Qualifications

  • LLB (Hons First Class), University of Waikato
  • BDes (Photography), Victoria University of Wellington

Affiliations

  • Member, Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association (AWLA)
  • Member, Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand Inc (INFINZ)
  • Committee Member, Financial Services Council Regulation Committee

Specialisations

  • AML/CFT
  • Financial Services Regulation
  • FinTech
  • Funds Management
  • Insurance
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Regulatory Compliance

Awards

  • Ranked as a Rising Star – Investment Funds, The Legal 500 Asia Pacific
  • Member of MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ internationally recognised Band 1 (Chambers Asia-Pacific) and Tier 1 (The Legal 500 Asia Pacific) Financial Services team