Australia

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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

APRA’s review of the superannuation prudential framework

On 23 May 2018 APRA announced that it would conduct a review of the superannuation prudential framework that was introduced in 2013 as part of the Stronger Super reforms.[1] The consultation is scheduled to take place over a four-month period and involve both formal and informal feedback from stakeholders across the superannuation industry. The structure … 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

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
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