Tim Williams Tim Williams

Tim Williams


Financial services regulation
Investment funds & superannuation

Tim is a leading commercial lawyer, who established Chapman Tripp’s Financial Services team.

Tim is sought after for his commercial and practical expertise, problem solving abilities, and in-depth legal and regulatory knowledge, particularly in the financial services, investment products, insurance, wealth management and banking sectors. He has a broad range of experience, including commercial law, licensing, regulatory compliance, mergers and acquisitions, anti-money laundering (AML), overseas investment, restructurings, takeovers and large-scale NZX listings.

He was instrumental in developing many of the country’s largest KiwiSaver schemes and other investment funds, including cash and term PIE products for the banking market, which collectively raised over $20b. As part of his broad-ranging commercial and financial services practice, Tim advises insurers, fund managers, intermediaries, and other financial service providers on responding to law reform, and their licensing and compliance programmes, covering a range of legislation including the Financial Markets Conduct Act, Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act, AML legislation, Overseas Investment Act, Financial Service Providers legislation, CCCFA, trans-Tasman mutual recognition regime, Non-bank Deposit Takers legislation, Companies Act, Takeovers Code and NZX Rules.

Tim is recognised as a Band 1 financial services lawyer by Chambers Asia Pacific for over two decades and as a Leading Individual by Legal 500 Asia Pacific. He is also listed in EuroMoney Experts Guide to the World’s Leading Banking Finance and Transactional Lawyers as one of the Outstanding Investment Funds Practitioners, and in Best Lawyers 2020 as a Leading Mutual Funds Lawyer.

Recent highlights

  • Advised on recent financial services law changes for insurers, fund managers, banks and intermediaries, including the need for fair conduct programmes and Conduct of Financial Institutions (CoFI) licensing requirements for insurers, banks and non-bank depositors, the need for climate statements for banks and a number of fund managers, and lobbied successfully for reduced intermediary obligations under the CoFI legislation.
  • Developed many investment products, including six KiwiSaver schemes for ASB, BNZ, Generate and other fund managers; managed investment schemes for AMP, ANZ, ASB, Betashares, BNZ, NZX/ Smartshares, Westpac/BT and other fund managers; cash and term PIE funds for ASB, BNZ and other banks; and wholesale and retail property investment companies, funds and limited partnerships for property managers; and subsequently assisted with their regulatory advice, outsourcings, restructurings, IMAs, and management, custody, registry, distribution and other arrangements.
  • Advised insurers and intermediaries on their regulatory compliance, including licensing, CoFI compliance, FMA/RBNZ “conduct and culture” review responses, governance structures, distribution arrangements, policies, procedures and controls, business acquisitions, insurance contracts, and broker network arrangements.
  • Acted for buyers and sellers of businesses, particularly in the financial services sector. Tim advised AMP Wealth of its sale of its Superannuation Master Trust, NZX/Smartshares on its SMT management acquisition ($1.6b FUM); AMP on transitioning AMP Life’s business to Resolution Life for $3b; Partners Life on the regulatory aspects of its BNZ Life acquisition for $290m and on its sale to Dai-ichi Insurance for $1b; a bidder for Westpac Life; 360 Capital on its acquisition and then sale of 50% of PMG; the vendors of Farro Fresh on their sale to Waterman Capital, Mansors Jewellers on its sale to The Hour Glass Company; ANZ on the regulatory aspects of its OnePath Life sale for $700m; Foundation Life on its Tower Life acquisition ($700m FUM); AUB Group on its acquisition of parts of New Zealand insurance broking businesses; the sale of ING New Zealand to ANZ as part of the group’s AU$1.76b transaction, ING’s acquisition of ANZ National Bank’s funds management and insurance business ($700m FUM); CS Company’s sale to (and repurchase from) AMP Private Equity; and many other business sales and acquisitions.
  • Advised on regulatory requirements for international and local established businesses and start-ups in the financial services sector, including BNPL scheme Afterpay, on their New Zealand regulatory requirements, licensing applications and compliance programmes, including licences for financial advisers, insurers, fund managers, discretionary investment scheme providers and derivative issuers; including prepared risk assessments and compliance plans for AML/CFT financial institutions, and established ACS’s contingent scheme of arrangement, the first Court approved scheme of its type in New Zealand.
  • Advised on responses to FMA, Commerce Commission and RBNZ statutory inquiries, made submissions on and influenced proposed legislation, and obtained exemptions from the FMCA and AML/CFT legislation, including successfully lobbied for FMCA class exemptions for overseas ESOPS, DRPs and overseas banks (including a class exemption for overseas banks to carry on business in New Zealand).
  • Advised on NZX listings, including IPOs exceeding $8.6b in value; seven of which were New Zealand's largest IPOs: Telecom (now Spark/Chorus), SkyCity, AMP, Goodman Properties, Precinct Properties (ANZO), Westpac New Zealand and AMP’s WiNZ fund. Advised on cross-border IPOs; NZX's largest equity public offer Ameritech’s instalment receipt offering, and listed company buybacks, including by Westpac and CBA.


  • Member of Institute of Directors, Financial Services Council, Insurance Brokers Association of New Zealand.

Tim's insights

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Legal opinion finds regulatory settings discouraging some investment options for KiwiSavers

KiwiSaver investors should have the option to benefit from an asset class that can deliver long-term value.

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Sharing jubilance with long-term client Partners Life

This month global life insurance specialist Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc announced the purchase of 100% of the shares in Partners Group Holdings Limited, the parent company of Partners Life Limited.

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Supporting a step-change in scale for Smartshares

We advised Smartshares on the purchase of the management rights of the ASB Superannuation Master Trust from ASB Group Investments Limited.

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Impact investment poised for lift off

​Increasing investor interest, evolving data capability and rapid advances in markets are aligning to create the conditions for a growth surge in impact investment in New Zealand.

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