Australia

Sizing up the 3 BEARs

The Australian Treasury has released and completed its consultation process on its Exposure Draft and accompanying Explanatory Material for the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (Size of an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution) Determination 2018. This draft legislative instrument defines what small, medium and large Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (ADIs) under the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) are: a … Continue Reading

ASIC updates INFO 225: Corporate regulator bytes back at misleading and deceptive ICOs

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released its updated guidance with respect to the treatment of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies. In its updated Information Sheet (INFO 225), the corporate regulator has clearly outlined its intent to crack down on any misleading or deceptive conduct by ICO issuers and cryptocurrency traders. Misleading … Continue Reading

Royal Commission is making the BEAR growl louder – striking FEAR into financial institutions

At Norton Rose Fulbright, we have commented on a number of occasions that we expect the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) to be extended beyond just authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) and so as to cover other areas of the financial services sector.  Such move, which we have previously informally nicknamed “FEAR” (Financial Executive Accountability Regime), … Continue Reading

Taking a byte at financial crime: New AML/CTF guidance and timelines for digital currency exchanges

Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) regulator, AUSTRAC, has released its guidance with respect to new laws that require digital currency exchange (DCE) providers to register and comply with AML/CTF obligations. AUSTRAC takes a broad approach in interpreting what is covered within the legal definition of a DCE. Essentially, any operation that converts fiat … Continue Reading

Possibility of extending the claws of BEAR

As the financial sector waits for the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to fully awaken the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) through the provision of further guidelines, there is already a lot of chatter as to whether BEAR should be extended beyond its initial coverage of APRA-regulated Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs). The Parliamentary Joint Committee … Continue Reading

Listed funds holding crypto-assets: ASX’s position

Increasingly, clients are coming to us for regulatory advice surrounding the mining of cryptocurrency tokens, operating digital currency exchanges, raising funds through Initial Coin Offerings, and investments involving cryptocurrencies. On the heels of such heightened interest in investing in cryptocurrencies, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has released their guidance with respect to Listed Investment Companies … Continue Reading

The BEAR Awakens!

After a much long and at times unbearable wait, Federal Parliament has yesterday passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (Banking Executive Accountability and Related Measures) Bill 2018 (BEAR Legislation). The BEAR Legislation amends the Banking Act 1959 to impose accountability, remuneration and notification obligations on authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) and those in directorship and senior management … Continue Reading

Treasurer wants BEAR by the start of next financial year

The Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, has given his Second Reading Speech in the Parliament with respect to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Banking Executive Accountability and Related Measures) Bill 2017 (BEAR Legislation) that introduces the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR). In his speech, the Treasurer made no surprises except that his Government still intends … Continue Reading

Encouraging results on consumers’ perception of banks

In April 2016, the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) initiated the Banking Reform Program – Better Banking (Program).[1]   The Program was developed to protect consumer interests, increase transparency and accountability, and to build consumer trust and confidence in banks through a range of initiatives. Edelman Intelligence has conducted two rounds of consumer research studies to track … Continue Reading

Australian financial institutions may see greater involvement in counter terrorism financing efforts

In light of today’s geo-political climate and public concerns over the threat of terrorist attacks, we see a trend of governments placing greater focus on countering the funding of terrorist groups. Indeed, the United Nation’s International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, which Australia has ratified, has been in force since 2002 … Continue Reading

New Banking Code of Conduct provided to ASIC

A new Banking Code of Practice has been developed and sent to ASIC for approval. The new Code will also be scrutinised by the Royal Commission for the purpose of determining whether or not the industry code is adequate to protect individual consumer and small business rights. The new Code was rewritten following an independent … Continue Reading

Changing the digital currency game: new laws to regulate Bitcoin in Australia

Ever since the infamous Silk Road website was investigated and shut down by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2013, and again in 2014, for facilitating the trafficking of illegal narcotics on the “darknet” using Bitcoin, the world of digital currencies has never been the same. Once upon a time Bitcoin was often used … Continue Reading

Royal Commission into Misconduct in Financial Services

The much anticipated Royal Commission was no surprise to the Australian banking industry.  What was surprising was the extension of its terms of reference to local and foreign deposit-taking institutions, life and general insurers, superannuation funds, as well as asset managers, financial planning businesses and all other holders of Australian financial services licences.  Let there … Continue Reading

Extending data protection protocols for financial institutions: A reminder to hold third party service providers accountable

Recent instances of cyber-attacks targeting third party service providers of government agencies and private sector organisations have coincided with the latest release of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC)’s 2017 Threat Report. This report comes as a timely reminder of the ongoing digital threats to organisations, such as those in the financial services sector, especially … Continue Reading

ASIC releases guidance on Crowd-Sourced Funding Intermediary Licencing

It is an exciting time for Australian equity market participants with a new crowd-sourced funding (CSF) regime due to commence on Friday 29 September 2017.  CSF, in essence, involves raising funds, usually through an online intermediary, from a large number of people who each make relatively small financial contributions. Australia’s new regime, introduced in Pt … Continue Reading

Did you implement ASIC’s recommendations on CCI?

Consumer credit insurance (CCI) is a type of add-on insurance sold with credit cards, personal loans and car loans. It is promoted to borrowers to help them meet their repayments if they lose their job, become sick or injured, or die. However, CCI has long been associated with poor consumer outcomes in Australia and overseas, … Continue Reading

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
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