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The FAR is near for insurers: Financial Accountability Regime Bill introduced into Parliament

On 28 October 2021, the Financial Accountability Regime Bill 2021 (Bill) was introduced into the House of Representatives to establish the much anticipated Financial Accountability Regime (FAR or the Regime). If passed, the Bill will expand and replace the current Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) under the Banking Act 1959 (Cth) and extend BEAR-like accountability … Continue Reading

The drinks are on the insurer: Insurance Australia Ltd trading as CGU Insurance v MOS Beverages Pty Ltd [2021] FCAFC 165

In a significant decision for insurance contracts in various industries, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has dismissed an appeal concerning the rights of a ‘third party beneficiary’ under an insurance policy. Insurers should take steps to ensure their policy wordings and policy schedules accurately reflect those they intend to cover. Otherwise, … Continue Reading

Financial Services monthly wrap-up September 2021

September continued to be a busy month in the funds, super and insurance sectors, as the industry is in the final stages of preparing for the anticipated breach-reporting, anti-hawking reforms and new customer complaints handling requirements which are effective from October. Notably, ASIC has provided further guidance on each of these topics to assist the … Continue Reading

Green light on 5 October regulatory changes

On 5 October 2021, a number of insurance regulatory changes affecting insurers, reinsurers, coverholders, underwriting agencies and brokers commenced under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corporations Act).  In this article we will briefly cover the regulatory reforms that have now taken place and look at what might be next. 1.   Product design and distribution obligations … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up

The month of August 2021 saw a release of anticipated updates to the upcoming changes in the funds management, superannuation and insurance sectors. Notably, Treasury has released the draft updated Corporate Collective Investment Vehicle fund legislation and tax framework, the release of the first Your Future Your Super performance test results and APRA and ASIC … Continue Reading

Casino left without a cent as Federal Court rules on Business Interruption coverage claim

A significant Covid-19 related business interruption claim has been decided in favour of insurers. In Star Entertainment Group Limited v Chubb Insurance Australia Ltd [2021] FCA 907, the Federal Court dismissed Star Entertainment Group’s claim for business interruption losses under an industrial special risks (ISR) policy. It appears Star has appealed the decision. Not surprisingly, … Continue Reading

Government fills the void for unfair contract term enforcement

Following its adoption by insurers in April this year, unfair contract terms laws are set for another revamp. The Treasury has just released draft legislation which will make unfair contract terms unlawful. These laws have been foreshadowed for some time (see our previous update). Currently no pecuniary penalties apply once a contract term is declared … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up July 2021

The month of July 2021 saw the release of various anticipated consultations for the financial services sector. In this wrap-up, we feature: ASIC’s consultation on the Financial Accountability Regime (FAR) draft bill which is set to improve the risk and governance cultures of the banking, insurance and superannuation sectors. Guidance on hawking reforms and the … Continue Reading

A tale of two claims: Federal Court hands down two judgments on non-disclosure

In what has proven to be the best and worst of times for insurers, two recent Federal Court of Australia decisions shed further light on when an insurer may be able (or in the case of the second case, unable) to exercise its statutory rights in the event of non-disclosure. In All Class Insurance Brokers … Continue Reading

Not FAR to go until accountability regimes come to insurance

The Treasury has released for consultation the draft bill for the Financial Accountability Regime (FAR or the Regime). The Regime will apply to the banking, superannuation and insurance sectors. Importantly, the Regime strengthens the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR), and extends the regime, in line with the recommendations from the Financial Services Royal Commission, to … Continue Reading

Are insurers still allowed to talk to customers? ASIC proposes changes to Hawking Prohibitions regulatory guidance

On 21 July 2021, ASIC released Consultation Paper 346 and a draft updated Regulatory Guide 38 (RG 38) to reflect new legislative changes that strengthen the current hawking prohibitions. As many in the industry will know, new hawking prohibitions come into effect on 5 October 2021. The new hawking prohibitions will not only affect insurers, … Continue Reading

Treasury drops-off products from add-on insurance reforms

We previously wrote on the upcoming implementation of the 2021 insurance regulatory reforms, including the deferred sales model for add-on insurance products. On 8 July 2021, the Treasurer announced which insurance products will be exempt from the deferred sales model. What is the Deferred Sales Model? The Government passed the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal … Continue Reading

Update: Treasury consultation on FFSP relief

As anticipated in our previous update, today Treasury released a consultation paper on options to restore previously well-established regulatory relief for Foreign Financial Services Providers (FFSPs), and options to create a fast-tracked licensing process for those that wish to establish a more permanent operation in Australia. Stakeholder feedback is sought on the following three options … Continue Reading

ASIC consults on crypto-asset based listed funds and other investment products

On 30 June 2021, ASIC released its consultation paper 343: Crypto-assets as underlying assets for ETPs and other investment products (CP343). The consultation has a broad remit and potentially significant consequences for trading in and investment exposure to crypto-assets. ASIC is seeking feedback on proposals about exchange-traded products (ETPs) and other investment products that provide … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up – May 2021

In May 2021, the Federal Budget for the 2021-2022 financial year was handed down which included a number of proposed legislative reforms which will affect the Australian funds management and superannuation industries. Most notably, the Budget Papers included a commitment to the implementation of the Corporate Collective Investment Vehicle regime and also flagged changes to … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up – April 2021

During April 2021, ASIC has used its product intervention powers to ban the sale of binary options to retail clients, as well as to extend temporary relief instruments amidst COVID-19. ASIC has also urged claims handling firms to lodge licences by next month. The superannuation sector has seen the release of exposure draft regulations to … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up – March 2021

March 2021 has seen the release of legislative reforms to advice fee consent and lack of independence disclosure by financial advisers. ASIC has clarified its position on virtual AGMs and released an interim report on competition in the managed funds industry. APRA has urged life insurers and superannuation funds to ensure their insurance offerings and … Continue Reading

Legal update – Australia | Financial services monthly wrap-up: February 2021

The month of February 2021 has seen continued momentum for a raft of changes affecting financial services providers from various industries. APRA has released its new policies and priorities for 2021, which have a particular focus on the impacts of COVID-19 and seek to strengthen the financial services sector in dealing with future crises. The ‘Your … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up: December 2020 to January 2021

The months of December 2020 and January 2021 have been a busy time in the funds management, superannuation and insurance sector. In particular, ASIC has released its final Regulatory Guide 274 Product design and distribution obligations, which will bring industry-wide changes to how financial products are formed, promoted and marketed. The impact of COVID-19 has … Continue Reading

ASIC releases practical field guide on consumer-centred remediation programs

To help licensees design and execute consumer-centred remediation programs, ASIC has recently released a practical field guide titled ‘Making it right: How to run a consumer-centred remediation’ (the Field Guide). A consumer-centred remediation is one that puts the interests of consumers at the heart of every stage of the remediation. The Field Guide outlines the … Continue Reading

Brexit: Where have we got to and what should you do now?

Webinar on 2 September 2020 at 8:45am to 10:00am (BST) We are evolving our successful 40 minute briefings into webinars for financial services professionals. This includes senior management and those in legal, compliance and risk teams who have or are developing financial services expertise. The webinars will be led by senior members of our financial … Continue Reading

What do ASIC’s proposals mean for foreign financial services providers?

Introduction As noted in our earlier update, ASIC has released its updated proposals for the licensing relief available to foreign financial services providers (FFSPs) servicing wholesale clients in Australia, with the release of Consultation Paper 315. In summary, ASIC has proposed to: extend the expiry of the sufficient equivalence relief and limited connection relief until … Continue Reading

New AUSTRAC Compliance Report format for 2018

AUSTRAC has released a new format for reporting entities to submit their annual compliance report (Compliance Report).  This new compliance reporting format comes as a result of AUSTRAC’s reforms to their previous Compliance Report requirements which were suspended for the 2017 reporting period, and is designed so that reporting entities are required to provide more … Continue Reading
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