Australia

Topic: Regulators

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Landmark decision under the UCT regime

The recent Federal Court decision in ASIC v Auto & General Insurance Company Limited [2024] FCA 272 is the first decision to apply the unfair contract terms (UCT) regime in the context of insurance since its expansion to insurance policies on 5 April 2021. On 22 March 2024, Jackman J delivered a judgment in favour … Continue Reading

Gearing up for mission critical – APRA’s new expectations for insurers

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has finalised Prudential Standard CPS 230 (Operational Risk Management) (CPS 230) following a year-long industry consultation. The new prudential standard commences on 1 July 2025 and applies to all APRA-regulated entities, encompassing banks, insurers (general, life and health) and registrable superannuation entity licensees. This article focuses on the implications … Continue Reading

A case of déjà vu?  Unfair Contract Terms changes are coming to insurance contracts…again

If you are feeling a case of déjà vu after reading this headline, you are not alone. Just over two years since the unfair contract terms (UCT) regime came into effect for insurance contracts, a revamped regime commences on 9 November 2023. Insurers are yet again reviewing insurance contracts that may now be caught by … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up: September 2023

September 2023 was a busy month for regulators in the financial services space. ASIC called on licensees to strengthen remediation procedures, issued new legislative instruments to replace sunsetting class orders, and released its 2023 annual licensing report. Meanwhile, APRA announced various new and proposed updates to its prudential standards and commenced consultation on a range … Continue Reading

Australia proposes regulatory framework for crypto exchanges and other digital asset platforms

On 16 October 2023 the Australian Federal Treasury released its public consultation paper regarding the proposed regulatory regime for digital asset platforms. The proposed framework highlights the Australian Government’s intention to ensure consistent oversight and safeguards for consumers by regulating digital asset platforms and other intermediaries within the existing Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) regime … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up: June-July 2023

The months of June and July have seen a flurry of regulatory developments. Treasury has committed to adopting the bulk of the Quality of Advice Review Recommendations, published its second consultation paper on climate disclosure and has announced its intention to uplift Superannuation Performance Testing. As expected with the close of the financial year, disclosure … Continue Reading

Treasury releases consultation for FFSP licensing regime

This article was co-authored with Abhi Ravishankar and Joel McKay In a much anticipated development, Treasury has released for consultation its exposure draft on Australian financial service (AFS) license exemptions for foreign financial services providers (FFSPs) (the exposure draft Bill and explanatory memorandum can be found here). This consultation comes off the back of the previous … Continue Reading

Maintaining the status quo: FFSP transitional relief to continue into March 2025

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has published a media release to confirm that the current transitional licensing relief for foreign financial services providers (FFSPs) providing financial services to Australian wholesale clients has been extended for a further 12 months to 31 March 2025. FFSPs who held the benefit of “sufficient equivalence relief” under certain ASIC class … Continue Reading

Are insurers looking FAR enough ahead? APRA and ASIC consult on proposed Regulator rules

While the Financial Accountability Regime Bill 2023 (Cth) (Bill)is still before the Senate, APRA and ASIC (Regulators) have already released draft Regulator rules for consultation. The Regulator rules provide some guidance on what APRA considers a key function for the purposes of assigning responsibility to ‘accountable persons’. If passed by Parliament, the Bill will establish … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up: May 2023

The month of May saw a broad range of activities within the financial services industry. ASIC released the results of its review into compliance with the design and distribution obligations as well as updating the industry on their greenwashing actions. ASIC also commenced proceedings against an insurer, alleging unfair contract terms in an insurance contract, … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up: April 2023

April was another fast moving month in the financial services sector. ASIC released updates to the breach reporting requirements to introduce new guidance and clarify existing guidance regarding reportable situations. The regulator also provided further communications surrounding the superannuation performance test, as well as commenced proceedings against an insurance company alleging unfair contract terms in … Continue Reading

FS Monthly Wrap-Up – March 2023

The month March was a busy month which saw some significant developments in the financial services sector. Notably, ASIC is currently consulting on class orders about financial requirements in considering whether to remake certain class orders. The regulator is also consulting on ‘sunsetting’ class orders changing responsible entities and equal treatment. ASIC also granted conditional … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up: December 2022 and January 2023

As 2022 came to a close, the regulators concluded the year with a busy month in December. Notably, ASIC ended the year by reminding stakeholders of the importance of ensuring that claims made in relation to a product were accurate, especially in the context of environmental claims, reflecting ASIC’s increased focus on greenwashing in 2022. … Continue Reading

Relief from Requirement to provide FSGs for Authorised Representatives until November 2027

On 24 November 2022, following an application from an insurer and further consultation with industry, consumers and government stakeholders, ASIC introduced the ASIC Corporations (Financial Services Guides) Instrument 2022/910 (Instrument) to provide relief to certain Authorised Representatives of Australian financial services licensees (ARs) from complying with the requirement to provide a Financial Services Guide. This … Continue Reading

Winds of change as Government wades into cyclone reinsurance pool

On 3 December 2021, the Government released draft legislation for the establishment of a reinsurance pool for cyclones and related flood damage.  The release of the draft legislation comes after multiple government enquiries and reviews found that insurance for households and small businesses caused by extreme weather events is becoming less accessible and affordable. As … 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

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 – 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

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

Financial services monthly wrap-up: November 2020

In November 2020, ASIC released a number of anticipated industry reports, providing an update on the buy now pay later industry as well as licensing and professional registration activities for 2020. The superannuation and funds management sector also had some notable developments, including the exposure draft legislation and explanatory memorandum released as part of the … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up: October 2020

The month of October 2020 has seen ASIC use its product intervention powers by imposing conditions on the issue and distribution of contracts for difference (CFDs) to retail clients as well as releasing updated guidance on unfair contract terms laws for insurance. The Federal Government has announced a number of key reforms, including changes to … Continue Reading

Financial services monthly wrap-up: September 2020

In September 2020, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has warned fund managers to ensure that the classification and marketing of their products remain “true to label” particularly as consumers continue to explore alternative investments during these times of market volatility. With the impact of COVID-19 continuing, ASIC has also extended a number of … Continue Reading
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