Australia

Removing the double taxation of digital currency: start date 1 July 2017

The Australian economy is in the midst of a major transformation, moving from growth led by investment in resources projects to broader-based drivers of growth in the remainder of the economy. The Australian Government is facilitating this transition from a mining boom to an ideas boom through policy changes that encourage new ideas and propel … Continue Reading

Reinventing the regulatory landscape

Introduction Earlier this year Data 61 issued its landmark report on distributed ledgers and the scenarios for the Australian economy over the coming decades. Perceptively, the government funded report noted that we are now living “in an era of rapid technology-fuelled change, which is creating complex strategy and policy choices for governments and companies.” The … Continue Reading

Hong Kong and Australia seal agreement on fintech cooperation

There is an argument that the financial services sector is always changing and that fintech is a case of déjà vu. For those of us with some grey hair we have seen important innovations such as credit cards, automated banking machines and, more recently, online banking. But such innovation did not revolutionise financial services, even … Continue Reading

The new Banking Executive Accountability Regime – how ready are you?

Following the 2008 global financial crisis, regulatory authorities around the world have been working on measures to strengthen individual accountability of senior individuals within the banking sector. The United Kingdom is, perhaps, the most well-known having introduced a new senior managers and certification regime, which forms the basis of an individual accountability regime through a … Continue Reading

Annual Financial Institution Symposium

Norton Rose Fulbright is pleased to offer you a rare opportunity to hear from some of the leading voices in risk and disruption. We will be hosting our annual Financial Institutions Symposium in our Sydney office on Thursday 27 October 2016. Discussion will focus on current ‘Risks & Disruptors’ in the global technology and regulatory … Continue Reading

Germany joins the blog

Our Regulation tomorrow blog goes from strength to strength, with the addition of Germany to our existing coverage of Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States.  EU-level updates will also be featured on our new German page. New blog posts from Germany include: Ban on CFDs by BaFin … Continue Reading

Australian corporate regulator consults on a proposed ‘regulatory sandbox’ licensing exemption for financial technology start-ups

Encouraging innovation in financial services has been a key policy initiative of the Federal Government in recent times. In its May budget, the Treasurer announced a plan to create a technologically driven and innovation-based economy. The Australian corporate and conduct regulator, ASIC, has driven this commitment to innovation. In April 2015, it established its ‘Innovation … Continue Reading

New incentives for investors in early stage venture capital funds

Executive Summary The recent passing of the Tax Laws Amendment (Tax Incentives for Innovation) Act 2016 (Act) reflects the Federal Government’s commitment to further its National Innovation and Science Agenda.  The measures should help in boosting the use of pooled venture capital focused funds as a way of channelling investor capital into otherwise cash starved … Continue Reading

Product suitability obligation and intervention powers to be fast-tracked: Government responds to calls for Royal Commission into the banks

In response to Opposition calls for a Royal Commission into the banking sector, the Australian Government has announced a $127 million reform package aimed at increasing the powers of Australia’s corporate watchdog, ASIC. A key component of that package will be the accelerated implementation of two key recommendations of the Financial System Inquiry: an obligation on … Continue Reading

ASIC sounds warning on add-on insurance products: time to get your houses (and car yards) in order

In his recent speech at the Insurance Council of Australia Annual Forum ASIC’s Peter Kell delivered a scathing commentary on the state of the add-on insurance market, saying that the industry had made insufficient progress towards delivering better consumer outcomes in the area and sounded a warning: if ASIC is still raising similar concerns in … Continue Reading

Global Asset Management Quarterly – Issue 1 now available

The first edition of our Global Asset Management Quarterly is now available. This publication highlights key developments that will be of interest to and affect our asset management clients, including market trends and developments in tax and buy-side regulation globally. View A global briefing on developments and market trends, March 2016… Continue Reading

ASIC raises concerns over adequacy of Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance for AFS licensees

ASIC to increase surveillance to monitor compliance with PI insurance requirements AFS licensees should check their PI policy to determine whether cover is adequate Insurers should review their PI offerings to ensure cover is compliant with RG 126 Following an eight month review, ASIC has released its findings on the PI insurance market and areas … Continue Reading

ASIC consults on online calculators – an opportunity for regulatory innovation

The drive towards automated financial services will gather pace in 2016 and here’s the next opportunity to influence the debate. After updating its relief to better facilitate electronic delivery of mandated disclosure and the use of innovative product disclosure statements (see RG 221), ASIC has released Consultation Paper CP 249 Remaking ASIC class order on generic … Continue Reading

Insurance in Australia: 2015 in review

Continued market consolidation, technology driven disruption and a shift towards behavioural based conduct regulation were the standout themes in the Australian insurance sector over the last 12 months. We take a brief look at the year that was and share our thoughts on what 2016 looks like. Keep ahead or be left behind: rise of … Continue Reading

The Paris Agreement: Moving from climate conscious to climate compliance

This blog post was co-authored by Phoebe Saintilan The ‘Paris Agreement’ was adopted on 12 December 2015 at the COP 21 UN Climate Change Conference (Conference). It may potentially herald the end of the fossil fuel era and a global move towards a low carbon future and renewable energy. This will undoubtedly influence the decisions … Continue Reading

ASIC/IOSCO Chairman supports blockchain innovation

Greg Medcraft made some very encouraging impromptu comments at the COALA/CBA Blockchain Workshops conference in Sydney on 10 December that are consistent with the renewed push to facilitate technology-led innovation in Australia. Mr Medcraft indicated that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is willing to support the modification of Australian law to the extent … Continue Reading

Australian health and life insurers race into wearable technology

Just as telematics has been supplementing motor vehicle insurance underwriting, Australia’s health and life insurance markets are embracing innovative technologies in the form of “wearables”. Underwriters traditionally rely on pre-policy questionnaires and proposal forms to assess risk and set the terms of cover they will accept; however, the information that can be obtained provides only … Continue Reading

APRA’s proposed new securitisation rules: some wins for the industry

APRA’s discussion paper and proposed new APS 120 provide some welcome clarification and concessions for Australian market participants.  Released on Thursday 26 November 2015, the proposals will be open for comment until 1 March 2016.  The proposed effective date for these rules in 1 January 2018. Amongst the more important proposals are: De-facto master trust … Continue Reading

Financial System Inquiry (FSI) – Government Response: hidden pitfalls for insurance brokers and underwriting agencies?

The Government’s response to the FSI contains both good and bad news for insurers and brokers One issue of concern is the proposal that ASIC must approve all changes in control of AFS Licensees.  This will significantly expand such regulatory oversight beyond authorised insurers to a multitude of insurance brokers and underwriting agencies. The good … Continue Reading

Government response to the Financial System Inquiry

Government releases its Response to FSI Final Report. The Australian Government has released its Response to last December’s Final Report of the Financial System Inquiry or ‘Murray Inquiry’. The Government appears to have accepted almost all of the Inquiry’s recommendations and has also proposed additional measures that are consistent with the Murray Inquiry’s underlying philosophy. … Continue Reading

ASIC “on the cusp of change” as organisational culture becomes a key focus of the regulator

The release of ASIC’s corporate plan for the coming three years marks the beginning of a new era of conduct regulation in Australia; one in which organisations may face enforcement action for having a culture that is not adequately consumer-centric or for taking advantage of consumer biases which lead to poor consumer decision making. We … Continue Reading

“User pays” funding model for ASIC: the first step towards a bigger, bolder regulator gets Government backing

The Government has given its support to a “user pays” industry funding model for ASIC in line with the recommendations of the Financial System Inquiry (FSI). A consultation paper has been issued today by Assistant Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, detailing how the funding model will work. The new funding model will require the biggest users of … Continue Reading

Officers should face civil sanctions for poor firm culture, says ASIC

ASIC continues to reshape its approach to enforcement, with the focus on disclosure having shifted sharply in the last year to a focus on delivering better consumer outcomes. In the last 12 months, we have been discussing ASIC’s use of behavioural economic theory and the spectre of UK regulation that underpins ASIC’s drive towards product … Continue Reading

Digital Currency Regulation – Australian Senate Recommendations

The Australian Senate Economics Reference Committee released its long-awaited report into the digital currencies on 4 August 2015. Digital currencies and blockchain technology is hot news. For many, the blockchain sensation is reminiscent of the early days of the internet.  We have even seen trialling of blockchain technology and some bitcoin sector investment by Australian … Continue Reading
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