Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ): Everything you need to know
Function: Central bank, regulator
Governor: Adrian Orr
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) was founded in 1934 as New Zealand’s central bank, and is responsible for monetary policy, regulation and the maintenance of a sound financial system. It has been wholly owned by the government of New Zealand since 1936, and is constituted under the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989.
The Reserve Bank acts as one of the official regulators of non-bank deposit takers (NBDTs), and is charged with the prudential supervision of the New Zealand insurance industry under section 12 of the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2010.
It also has the sole right of issuing New Zealand notes and coins, controlling currency issuance and replacing used and damaged money. RBNZ does not offer any public financial services or deposit insurance.
As part of its activities, RBNZ registers banks which meet its criteria in relation to their financial position, governance and ability to maintain a prudent business. As of February 2016, RBNZ supervises 25 registered banks, and has regulatory, licensing and supervisory oversight of finance and insurance companies, building societies and credit unions.
Reserve Bank of New Zealand in the news
1934: RBNZ is founded as New Zealand’s central bank
1936: The New Zealand government acquires full ownership of RBNZ
1989: RBNZ begins operating under the legislation of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act
2018: Adrian Orr is appointed governor of the Reserve Bank
2018: RBNZ launches a conduct and culture review into New Zealand’s banks and life insurers following revelations of serious misconduct from the Australian Royal Commission
2019: RBNZ and the FMA release their joint review of 16 life insurers, highlighting poor governance and significant risk of misconduct
Key people as of 2019
Adrian Orr – Governor
Orr was appointed governor of the Reserve Bank in March 2018. His career has spanned New Zealand, the UK and France, and he has held various economist roles with the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, the OECD, Westpac and National Bank before joining the Reserve Bank as chief manager of the economics team in 1997. Orr held the position of CEO of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation Fund from 2007 until his appointment as Reserve Bank governor.
Geoff Bascand – Deputy governor/general manager financial stability
Bascand is the head of the Reserve Bank’s financial stability departments, overseeing policy implementation and analysis, supervision and data and statistics. He was previously the chief executive of Statistics New Zealand, and had also worked in senior management roles at the Department of Labour and the New Zealand Treasury.
Mike Wolyncewicz – Assistant governor/CFO finance
Wolyncewicz was appointed CFO in March 2000 and is responsible for the Reserve Bank’s financial management, internal and external reporting, treasury systems and procurement. He was appointed assistant governor in December 2018. Wolyncewicz was previously CFO of At Work Insurance Limited, and has held various senior positions at BNZ.
The Reserve Bank plays a significant role in promoting financial and economic education, and regularly releases various publications, videos and activities explaining financial concepts.
It runs an annual series of events called Money Week, which provides resources and encourages conversations about money. Its ‘At a glance’ series also offers quick, simple graphics and videos explaining various concepts such as New Zealand’s financial system, the Reserve Bank’s economic model and the Monetary Policy Statement.
The Reserve Bank Museum tells the origins and role of the Reserve Bank, and offers a look into the history of New Zealand’s trade and banking system. It also displays a selection of rare notes and coins from the Bank’s collection.
The Museum offers school visits and provides free educational programmes for secondary school students, which include presentations on topics such as the history of money, issuing currency, financial stability, and others.