Australia

Australian financial services and sanctions law

“Sanctions” have been in the news quite often lately. The United Nations has adopted, and many of its member-states have imposed, trade and economic sanctions against North Korea to pressure its regime to give up nuclear weapons. Similarly, recent political developments surrounding the so-called “Iran Nuclear Deal” have been all about re-imposing sanctions in relation … Continue Reading

In the age of disruption, ASIC is a pioneer for cross-border regulation

In an attempt to respond swiftly to some of the risks and challenges that have arisen from technological developments and information sharing, ASIC has become one of the first signatories to the newest standards for cross-border enforcement. The latest Enhanced Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Consultation and Cooperation and the Exchange of Information (EMMoU) builds … Continue Reading

ASIC calls on retail OTC derivatives issuers to lift standards and address regulatory concerns

ASIC recently undertook a surveillance of the retail OTC derivatives sector, which has an estimated annual turnover of $11 trillion and over 450,000 investors in Australia. ASIC has released Report 579 here in which it identifies sector-wide issues with certain practices, including: misleading marketing materials unclear pricing methodologies, particularly around cryptocurrency CFDs inadequate risk management … Continue Reading

ASIC consults on its proposal to repeal and replace the ASIC class orders for Foreign Financial Services Providers with modified licensing regime

ASIC has released CP 301, a consultation paper which proposes a modified licensing regime (in place of the current FFSP relief available for FFSPs in certain jurisdictions) for foreign financial services providers carrying on a financial services business in Australia, with submissions due by 31 July 2018. Background In 2003, ASIC issued class order relief … Continue Reading

What Australian financial institutions need to know about cybersecurity and responding to cyber-attacks

It has been 3 months since Australia’s Notifiable Data Breach Scheme (NDB Scheme)[1] came into force and, already, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is receiving many notifications of cyber-attacks and other data breaches – both voluntarily and under the NDB Scheme. We will see even greater awareness of cybersecurity and data protection … Continue Reading

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
LexBlog