For the latest FSR news, see our Breaking News page.
ASIC seeks comment on whether it should issue socially responsible investing disclosure guidelines
19 December 2002
ASIC has today released a discussion paper, 'Socially responsible investing disclosure guidelines? - ASIC discussion paper', in which it seeks industry views on whether it should issue guidelines on the new socially responsible investing disclosure requirements for investment products and, if so, what those guidelines should contain.
Comments on the discussion paper must be sent to ASIC by Friday, 28 February 2003.
ASIC issues cross border policy proposal paper on foreign financial services providers in the Australian market
19 December 2002
ASIC has today released a policy proposal paper 'Licensing: Discretionary powers - Foreign financial services provides - ASIC policy proposal', which is part of its ongoing development of policy on the regulation of cross border financial services (see also our Breaking News item for 21 November).
The purpose of this policy is to outline when ASIC will use its discretionary powers to provide exemptions from the requirement to hold an Australian financial services licence for financial services providers who are regulated by overseas regulatory authorities.
Submissions on this discussion paper are also due by Friday, 28 February 2003.
Government releases further draft FSR regulations
13 December 2002
The Government has released further draft regulations that make miscellaneous amendments in a number of areas relating to FSR. The more important proposed changes relate to:
- expanding the types of people who can use the streamlined licensing procedures;
- prescribing additional public holidays on which hawking of financial products will be prohibited;
- the specific inclusion (spot foreign exchange contracts) and exclusion (overseas student health insurance contracts and funeral expenses policies) of products as financial products;
- extending the categories of documents considered to be 'exempt' (and, therefore, not financial product advice);
- expanding the rules that govern which activities are deemed not to be financial services (particularly the activities of recognised accountants);
- amendments affecting when a financial services guide (FSG) must be provided and how remuneration details must be disclosed in FSGs and statements of advice;
- the option to provide new updated product disclosure statements (PDS) to clients (instead of a supplementary PDS) to replace a defective PDS;
- expanding the current exemption from placing an Australian financial services licence (AFSL) number on documents issued before the AFSL has been granted.
Comments on the proposed draft regulations must be sent to Treasury by 31 January 2003.
ASIC announces continuation of its no-action licensing approach for debt rating agencies during the FSR transitional period
13 December 2002
ASIC has confirmed today that it will continue to apply its
no-action approach to the licensing of debt rating agencies until the end of the 2 year FSR transitional period (on 11 March 2004).
ASIC releases policy proposal paper on advisers' conduct and disclosure obligations
12 December 2002
ASIC today released a policy proposal paper, Licensing: Financial product advisers - Conduct and disclosure, which sets out how ASIC proposes to administer conduct and disclosure obligations under the Corporations Act relating to the provision of financial product advice to retail clients.
Comments on the policy proposal paper are invited and must be sent to ASIC by 21 February 2003. ASIC plans to issue the final version of the policy by the end of May 2003.
ASIC releases new class order and policy statement in relation to secondary sales
3 December 2002
ASIC today released Policy Statement 173 Disclosure for on-sale of securities and other financial products and CO 02/1180. The Policy Statement and class order gives relief from the secondary sales provisions of the Corporations Act, where retail investors have access to alternative disclosure that is comparable to what would normally be contained in a prospectus or Product Disclosure Statement. The Policy Statement replaces ASIC's interim relief granted by CO 02/272 and extended by 02/334. ASIC has not provided permanent relief to securities issued by companies in the top 200 listed companies. However, transitional relief applies to the on-sale of securities issued before 29 November 2002 where the issuer has relied on, and complied with any applicable conditions of, Category 4 of CO 02/272. (See also Breaking News for 7 March, 15 March and 27 June 2002 and our commentary on this issue.)
ASIC releases guidance papers for AFS licence applications
25 November 2002
ASIC today released 8 guidance papers to help participants complete their AFS licence applications in the following areas:
- Building Societies and Credit Unions;
- Superannuation Trustees;
- Responsible Entities & IDPS Operators;
- Life & General Insurance Brokers;
- Market Makers, Advisers, Brokers and Dealers in derivatives and foreign exchange contracts;
- Insurance Multi-Agents; and
- Financial Advisers.
ASIC has released the following 2 policy proposal papers on the regulation of certain cross border financial activity:
- Australian market licences: Overseas operators - this considers the way that ASIC proposes to regulate overseas markets that wish to operate in Australia
- Foreign Collective Investment Schemes (FCIS) - this considers the way that ASIC proposes to regulate FCIS operators that seek to attract Australian investors.
Comments on the 2 policy proposals should be submitted to ASIC by 28 February 2003.
ASIC releases Small Business Guide
19 November 2002
ASIC has released Small business: guide to complying with PS 164 to assist small businesses fulfill their compliance obligations.
ASIC addresses risks of out of date PDS applications
19 November 2002
ASIC today released an information release addressing the risks of non-compliance faced by issuers of PDS when issuing a financial product to an applicant who did not apply using the most up-to-date PDS available.
ASIC releases revised policy statements and licensing guidance papers
8 November 2002
ASIC today released the following revised Policy Statements:
- PS 164 Licensing : Organisational capacities
- PS 166 Licensing: Financial requirements
- PS 167 Licensing: Discretionary powers and transition
- PS 169 Disclosure: Discretionary powers and transition
ASIC also released the following revised guidance papers:
- Licensing and disclosure: Making the transition to the FSR regime
- Licensing: The scope of the licensing regime: Financial product advice and dealing.
These are available from ASIC's website.
Regulations receive assent
6 November 2002
The Governor–General has now given Royal Assent to the Corporations Amendment Regulations (No 8) 2002 which were released in draft on 24 September and prohibit hawking of some types of financial products on Sundays.
ASIC releases update of hawking guide
24 October 2002
ASIC today released an update of The hawking prohibitions: an ASIC guide following discussions with a number of industry associations. ASIC's overall approach to the hawking prohibitions has not changed as a result of the update but some aspects of the guide have been clarified.
Senate Joint Committee publishes report on the regulations and ASIC policy statements under FSR
23 October 2002
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services today published its report titled Report on the Regulations and ASIC Policy Statements made under the Financial Services Reform Act 2001 (Cth).
ASIC releases updated version of the Australian Financial Services Licensing application
15 October 2002
ASIC has today released version 2 of the eLicensing System and the Australian Financial Services Licensing Kit, which need to be used by applicants for an Australian Financial Services Licence under the FSR regime. These documents are available from ASIC's website.
ASIC issues clarifying FSR class orders
11 October 2002
ASIC today released 6 new class orders:
- CO 02/1071 - clarifying the meaning of 'class of financial products' for transition (regulation 10.2.74);
- CO 02/1072 - exempting top-up investments in managed investment schemes from the PDS requirements;
- CO 02/1073 and Co 02/1074 - exempting superannuation trustees and responsible entities from providing Financial Services Guides;
- CO 02/1075 - exempting issuers of travellers' cheques from the need to provide confirmation of transactions; and
- CO 02/1084 - transitional relief from the need to provide Australian financial services licence numbers in prospectuses.
ASIC releases discussion paper on the use of past performance information in investment advertisements and promotional material
30 September 2002
ASIC today released a discussion paper (including a draft guide) on the use of information about past performance of financial products in advertisements and other promotional material.
Comments on the draft guide are invited and must be sent to ASIC by 15 November.
ASIC issues SFE associate participant class order relief
27 September 2002
ASIC today issued 2 class orders, CO 02/1013 and CO 02/1022, to allow people who were associate participants of the Sydney Futures Exchange before 1 October 2002 to continue to deal in futures contracts and operate managed discretionary accounts after that date. The class order relief, which is available until 1 July 2003 and is subject to some conditions, gives those affected the opportunity to transition to the financial services reform regime.
ASIC releases report on disclosure of fees and charges
25 September 2002
ASIC today released a report prepared by Professor Ian Ramsay, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Director of the Centre for Corporate Law and Securities Regulation at the University of Melbourne, on 'Disclosure of fees and charges in managed investments: review of current Australian requirements and options for reform' .
This report marks the end of the first stage of the project to promote better disclosure of fees and charges in product disclosure statements for investment products, which was announced late last year by ASIC (refer to our Breaking News item for 20 December 2001). ASIC will use the report to facilitate further consultation with industry and consumer representatives about the future direction of disclosure for investment products.
Government releases draft regulations on permitted hawking times
24 September 2002
Following commitments made in relation to the Opposition's disallowance motion (see Breaking News item for 16 September), the Government has released a draft amendment to the Corporations Regulations 2001 to prohibit hawking of some types of financial products on Sundays. The Government is also inviting public submissions on prohibiting direct marketing of those financial products on public holidays. It has released commentary containing further details on this proposal. The closing date for submissions is 14 October.
The Federal Opposition successfully moved a motion in the Senate today to disallow FSR regulations relating to the disclosure of fees and charges for superannuation and related financial products. The Government has issued a press release in response.
Originally, the Opposition had also sought to disallow the anti-hawking regulation dealing with prescribed hours for unsolicited contacts to offer (some) financial products. However, the Government agreed to the Opposition's requirement for revised hours and it is expected that an amending regulation will be made soon.
(For further information on this, refer to our Breaking News item for 18 June and our commentary.)
ASIC issues policy statement on financial forecasts
9 September 2002
ASIC has issued policy statement 170, Prospective financial information, which provides guidance to issuers on the use of prospective financial information in prospectuses, disclosure documents and product disclosure statements.
Government releases financial services compensation issues paper
6 September 2002
The Government released today a discussion paper, 'Compensation For Loss in the Financial Services Sector: Issues and Options'. The paper is designed to promote debate about the key issues.
Written submissions are invited and must be sent to Treasury by 8 November.
ATO issues Determination on definition of 'financial entity' for tax purposes
4 September 2002
The ATO today issued a Tax Determination (TD 2002/21) which provides that an entity that holds a pre-FSR licence during the FSR transitional period will be treated as a 'financial entity' for the purposes of the thin capitalisation rules under Division 820 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth).
ASIC releases class order giving interim licensing relief for pooled development funds operators
2 September 2002
ASIC today released a new class order [CO 02/0930] giving interim relief for 12 months (starting from 17 August 2002) to pooled development funds operators from the Australian financial services licensing requirements in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
ASIC releases guidance paper to simplify the Australian Financial Services Licence application process
26 August 2002
ASIC today released a guidance paper, 'What type of AFS licence authorisations and assessment process do you need to apply for?', to assist financial advisers completing their AFS licence applications.
ASIC releases addendum to AFS Licensing Kit
14 August 2002
ASIC has today released an addendum* to the Australian Financial Services Licensing Kit, which updates the kit since it was first published on 1 February 2002 and replaces the addendum released in March.
*Please note link to original document no longer available.
ASIC to release guidelines on socially responsible investing disclosure
31 July 2002
ASIC announced today that it will release a discussion paper later this year setting out some guidelines for industry on how to meet disclosure obligations on socially responsible investing.
ASIC gives guidance on the hawking prohibitions
1 July 2002
ASIC today released a guidance paper 'The hawking prohibitions: an ASIC guide' in which it provides some guidance on the various hawking prohibitions in the Corporations Act (including those introduced under FSR).
ASIC releases discussion paper on disclosure for on-sale of financial products
27 June 2002
ASIC today released a discussion paper on 'Disclosure for on-sale of securities and other financial products', which sets out the key issues relating to the disclosure requirements in the on-sale provisions in the Corporations Act 2001 and ASIC's proposals to address these issues.
Public submissions are invited and should be sent to ASIC by 8 August 2002. In the meantime, ASIC has extended the current interim relief from the on-sale provisions under Class Order 02/272 (as amended by Class Order 02/334) for a further 3 months from 11 September 2002 to 11 December 2002. (For further information about these class orders, see our Breaking News for 7 March 2002 and 15 March 2002. See also our Breaking News for 3 December 2002 and our commentary on this issue.)
Regulations receive assent
27 June 2002
The Governor-General has now given Royal Assent to the Corporations Amendment Regulations (No 6) 2002. For an overview of what is covered by these regulations, refer to our Breaking News for 24 May.
ASIC today released its 'Guide to Good Transaction Fee Disclosure for Bank, Building Society and Credit Union Deposit and Payment Products (Transaction Accounts)'. The Guide is intended to be a reference for institutions and consumers and takes account of the disclosure requirements introduced under FSR as well as applicable codes of practice and ASIC policy.
ASIC media release on compliance with PS 146
20 June 2002
ASIC has today issued a media release outlining its position in relation to the implementation of PS 146 - Training of Financial Product Advisers and confirming that it will not extend the 1 July 2002 deadline for compliance by those covered by the policy statement. For further details on the policy statement and how it applies, refer to our commentary.
Today in the Senate, Senator Stephen Conroy (Deputy Opposition Leader in the Senate and Shadow Minister for Financial Services) gave notice to disallow some of the regulations made under the Financial Services Reform Act. The disallowance notice relates to the following areas:
- the additional disclosure requirements for superannuation product PDS, on the basis that the regulation should also apply to other types of financial products to enable adequate comparability of fees and charges across financial products
- the hours prescribed for unsolicited phone calls to offer (some) financial products, on the basis that the regulation is too broad.
Regulations receive assent
14 June 2002
The Governor-General has now given Royal Assent to the draft regulations released on 16 April and 2 May. For an overview of what is covered by these new regulations, which make a number of miscellaneous changes and technical amendments, refer to our Breaking News entries below for those dates.
ASIC reissues Pro forma 209 AFS licence conditions
11 June 2002
ASIC has reissued Pro forma 209, AFS licence conditions, in order to incorporate a number of changes and to provide further information in relation to some of the conditions imposed on AFS licences.
ASIC clarifies application of s992A anti-hawking provisions to securities and managed investment schemes
31 May 2002
ASIC has released a new class order, [CO 02/641] Hawking - securities and managed investments, so that the prohibition on hawking of financial products in s992A of the Corporations Act does not apply to securities (which are covered by s736) or interests in managed investment schemes (which are covered by s992AA).
Treasury releases further draft regulations for consultation
24 May 2002
Treasury has released a further set of proposed regulations dealing with:
- product disclosure and cooling off obligations that will arise as a result of proposed changes to the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) legislation to enable child contributions to be made to superannuation funds;
- reinstatement of disclosure obligations for superannuation entities in relation to providing information (copies of audited accounts and fund information reports) on request;
- technical amendments relating to the use of excess money transferred from the National Guarantee Fund to market licensees in some circumstances; and
- repealing of the insider trading exceptions that were introduced under Corporations Amendment Regulations (No 3) 2002 pending the passing of the Financial Services Reform (Consequential Provisions) Act 2002 (which received Royal Assent on 5 April).
Written submissions on the proposed regulations are invited and must be sent to Treasury by 14 June 2002.
ASIC gives relief from product disclosure statement requirements for secondary sales of warrants
20 May 2002
ASIC has released a new class order, CO 02/608 - Warrants: relief from PDS requirements for secondary sales, which ensures that transfers of ASX quoted warrants as a result of secondary sales are not treated as the issue of a derivative and, therefore, potentially subject to the product disclosure statement requirements under FSR. This class order has effect from 11 March 2002.
ASIC makes declaration on 'Recognised Accountants'
13 May 2002
ASIC has released Class Order CO 02/551 which declares that members of CPA Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the National Institute of Accountants are 'Recognised Accountants' under the Corporations Regulations 2001. Under the FSR regime, 'Recognised Accountants' are not required to hold an Australian Financial Services licence to perform specified activities.
Treasury releases new draft regulations for consultation
2 May 2002
Treasury has released a new set of proposed regulations dealing with:
- telephone monitoring during takeovers
- the definition of derivatives
- technical amendments relating to various information and product disclosure obligations and the need to hold an Australian financial services licence
- technical amendments relating to the licensing and compensation regimes for financial markets.
Written submissions on the proposed regulations are invited and must be sent to Treasury by 22 May 2002.
Treasury releases new draft FSR regulation
16 April 2002
Treasury has released a new proposed regulation that will apply to ASX participants until they opt into the FSR regime. This new regulation relates to funding of ASX compensation arrangements.
Written submissions on the proposed regulation are invited and must be sent to Treasury by no later than 26 April 2002.
ASIC releases guidance paper on insurance licence and broker registrations
15 April 2002
ASIC has released a new guidance paper, Making the transition to an AFS licence: pre-FSR licences and insurance broker registrations. This guide helps pre-FSR licence holders and registered insurance brokers to plan their transition to the new licensing regime.
The Financial Services Reform (Consequential Provisions) Act 2002 received Royal Assent on 5 April 2002. The purpose of this legislation is to make amendments to Commonwealth legislation that are consequential to the Financial Services Reform Act 2001.
- facilitates the Government's superannuation and family law reforms by amending the Retirement Savings Accounts Act 1997 (and these amendments commence immediately after the commencement of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Superannuation) Act 2001); and
- corrects a drafting error in the Corporations Act 2001 arising from amendments to that Act made by the Financial Services Reform Act 2001 (to take effect from 11 March 2002).
Parliamentary inquiry to review FSR legislation and policy
5 April 2002
The Parliamentary Joint Committee is holding an inquiry to review the FSR Regulations and ASIC policies to assess their consistency with the stated objectives and principles of the FSR legislation.
Public submissions are invited and should be sent by no later than 3 May 2002.
New FSR regulations receive assent
22 March 2002
Further amendments have been made to the FSR regulations in relation to the requirement to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (including transitional arrangements for some licence holders) and providing a Financial Services Guide. These changes have been backdated to 11 March 2002.
ASIC and RBA issue memorandum of understanding
20 March 2002
ASIC and the RBA have issued a memorandum of understanding that outlines how they will work together in their respective roles and responsibilities for clearing and settlement facilities under the FSR regime.
ASIC releases revised draft of its policy statement on takeovers
20 March 2002
ASIC today released a consultation draft of its revised policy statement PS 25: Takeovers: False and misleading statements, which has been amended to reflect legislative changes (including FSR) and ASIC's current enforcement practices.
Comments on the draft policy are invited and are due by 1 May 2002 and should be directed to:
Regulatory Policy Branch
GPO Box 5179AA Melbourne 3001
Fax: (03) 9280 3306
ASIC fine tunes relief from prospectus disclosure for certain secondary sales
15 March 2002
ASIC has made some technical changes to the recent class order giving interim relief (see Breaking News for 7 March) from the Chapter 6D secondary sales provisions (s707). The variation is also by class order (C02/334). It amends rather than replaces the original class order. (See also Breaking News for 27 June and 3 December 2002 and our commentary on this issue.)
ASIC releases more FSR forms
13 March 2002
ASIC has released 12 new forms for use under the new FSR regime. These mainly relate to auditors, the representatives register and product disclosure opt-in.
ASIC has also confirmed that pre-FSR ASIC licence application forms (20, 701 and 801) may no longer be used.
ASX releases Listing Rules amendments to take account of FSR
12 March 2002
ASX has amended the Listing Rules with effect from 11 March 2002. These changes are principally to take account of the changes to the Corporations Act 2001 brought about by the FSR legislation.
ASIC announces proposed FSR implementation plans
11 March 2002
ASIC today announced its proposed FSR implementation plans* for the next few months. These plans relate principally to the areas of:
- current ASIC policy and guidelines, which it intends to update to take account of the new FSR regulations made in February; and
- licensing, in relation to which ASIC will release guides to assist with identifying the FSR equivalents for the more common pre-FSR licences and broker registrations and also which pre-FSR licence variations can still apply under the FSR regime.
*Please note link to original document no longer available.
ASIC releases addendum to Licensing Kit
8 March 2002
ASIC today released an addendum* to the Australian Financial Services Licensing Kit that it launched on 1 February. The addendum adds section 4 to the Licensing Kit, which covers amendments made to the licence application since the launch date. It also provides some additional guidance to some industry groups in answering particular questions in the licence application form.
*Please note link to original document no longer available.
ASIC releases pro forma licensing conditions for AFS Licence
8 March 2002
ASIC has released Pro forma 209 Australian Financial Services Licence conditions. This sets out the standard licence conditions which will usually apply under an Australian Financial Services Licence. Licensees will also be subject to prescribed conditions (under the Regulations) and any special conditions that ASIC may impose in relation to a particular Licensee.
ASIC releases further FSR class orders
8 March 2002
Following on from the class orders released on 12 February and 7 March, ASIC has released another set of class orders as a result of changes introduced by the FSR legislation. They cover the following:
- Audit relief for proprietary companies - amendment [CO 02/247]
- Wholly-owned entities - amendment [CO 02/248]
- Approved overseas financial markets: s257B(7) [CO 02/249]
- Foreign securities: publishing of reports and notices - amendment [CO 02/250]
- Foreign securities: publishing of reports and notices - amendment [CO 02/251]
- Foreign rights issue - amendment [CO 02/252]
- Foreign securities - amendment [CO 02/253]
- Foreign securities: listed foreign companies making 20 or fewer offers in Australia in 12 months - amendment [CO 02/254]
- Employee share schemes - amendment [CO 02/255]
- Employee share schemes - amendment [CO 02/256]
- Employee share schemes - offers of shares through a trust - amendment [CO 02/257]
- Relief from the minimum bid price principle - s621(3) - amendment [CO 02/258]
- Downstream acquisitions: foreign stock markets [CO 02/259];
- Product Disclosure Statements - application forms created by a licensee [CO 02/260]
- Electronic disclosure documents, electronic application forms and dealer personalised applications - amendment [CO 02/261]
- Applications to switch managed investment products [CO 02/262]
- Foreign interests in a managed investment scheme traded on an approved foreign exchange: 20 or fewer offers in Australia in 12 months [CO 02/263]
- Employee share schemes - contribution plans [CO 02/264]
- Foreign securities: publishing of reports and notices [CO 02/265].
ASIC's policy on considering applications for and the issuing of class order relief in relation to FSR matters is contained in PS 167 Licensing:
Discretionary powers and transition
and PS 169
Disclosure: Discretionary powers and transition.
ASIC announces commencement date for lodging AFS Licence applications
7 March 2002
ASIC has confirmed that it will start accepting applications for Australian Financial Services Licences from 8 March 2002. ASIC's announcement outlines what applicants need to do to apply for a licence, and links to the eLicence application form.
ASIC to accept applications for approval of pre-1995 training courses for financial product advisers
7 March 2002
ASIC announced today that, for a limited time, it will accept applications from financial services industry participants for the assessment and approval of pre-1995 training courses for inclusion in the ASIC Training Register. Applications must be submitted between 11 March 2002 and 28 April 2002.
ASIC has made this decision bearing in mind the deadlines for compliance with its policy statement, PS 146 - Training of Financial Product Advisers (which, for many, is 30 June 2002). ASIC's information release, sets out who is eligible to apply and ASIC's criteria for eligibility for assessment of training courses, and links to the application form.
ASIC gives interim relief from prospectus disclosure for some secondary sales
7 March 2002
ASIC has released a new class order, CO 02/272 - Secondary sale of securities: section 707(3) and section 707(4), which gives interim relief (for a period of six months from 11 March 2002) from the secondary sales provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 that come into effect on 11 March 2002 as part of the reforms under the FSR legislation.
As a result of the amendments introduced by the FSR legislation, sections 707(3) and (4) of the Corporations Act require prospectus disclosure for the secondary sale of securities if:
- the secondary sale takes place within twelve months after the issue;
- the securities were first issued without a prospectus;
- either the issuer issued, or the person to whom the securities were issued acquired, the securities with the purpose of their being on-sold (whether or not there were other purposes for the issue or acquisition); and
- the secondary sale is to a retail investor (ie none of the exemptions from prospectus disclosure under the Corporations Act apply).
Class Order (CO) 02/272 modifies sections 707(3) and (4) to remove their extended application to certain secondary sales. ASIC's Information Release outlines the circumstances in which the different types of relief apply and what applicants must do to obtain relief from ASIC under the class order, and links to a copy of the class order. (See also Breaking News for 15 March, 27 June and 3 December 2002 and our commentary on this issue.)
ASIC provides guidance on compliance with FSR requirements on telephone recording during takeovers
7 March 2002
ASIC has prepared an Information Release which provides general guidance on the operation of the new FSR requirements for bidders and targets to record telephone conversations with target shareholders about a takeover bid during the bid period. The release discusses:
- commencement date of recording requirement
- what conversations must be recorded
- exceptions to the requirements
- requirements to notify shareholders of the recording of the conversation
- requirements to keep and store recordings
- access to the recordings
- other relevant legislative requirements.
ASIC releases policy statement on Australian market licences for Australian operators
6 March 2002
ASIC has released (PS) 172: Australian market licences: Australian operators. This policy statement covers ASIC's role in, and approach to, financial market regulation under FSR. The policy applies to a range of markets and provides guidance on when an Australian market licence is needed and how to apply for such a licence. It should be noted that the policy does not cover issues relating to overseas operators - this will be covered in a later policy statement to be developed by ASIC.
Further regulations under second stage of FSR regulations receive Royal Assent
5 March 2002
The Governor-General has now given Royal Assent to the further regulations (released on 25 February 2002) under the second stage of the FSR regulations. These regulations, which are in addition to and, in some cases, amend, the earlier FSR regulations, cover insurance, banking, managed investments, superannuation and other products and deal with various issues including licensing, continuous disclosure, classes of financial products, transitional issues and fees.
Government announces plans to examine compensation arrangements under FSR
28 February 2002
The government has announced that it intends to release an issues paper for industry consultation on a framework for compensation arrangements in the financial services sector as part of its FSR package.
The paper will consider the limits of conduct to be covered by the compensation arrangements (which are principally aimed at compensating consumers who have suffered financial loss as a result of a financial service provider failing to provide a promised service or breaching its obligations under the law).
The paper is to be prepared by Treasury in conjunction with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Companies and Securities Advisory Committee with the intention of seeking industry feedback around the middle of this year.
ASIC releases further FSR class orders and FAQs
28 February 2002
The class orders come into effect on 11 March (to coincide with the main commencement date of the financial services reform regime) and either replace or amend existing class orders. They cover the following:
- Interests in film and theatrical ventures [CO 02/210]
- Managed investment schemes - interests not for money
- Differential fees [CO 02/214]
- Relief from the consideration to acquire constitutional requirement - amendment [CO 02/224]
- Rights issue notifications - securities [CO 02/225]
- Managed investment schemes - no issue required disclosure [CO 02/226].
The FAQs provide general information about how ASIC is implementing the financial services reform regime. The latest additions cover financial product, licensing, exempt entities, insurance, disclosure, transition and other general FSR issues.
Government releases further draft regulations under second stage of FSR regulations
25 February 2002
The Government has released another set of draft regulations under the second stage of the FSR regulations. These latest draft regulations cover insurance, banking, managed investments, superannuation and other products and deal with a wide range of issues including licensing, continuous disclosure, classes of financial products, transitional issues and fees. They are in addition to the regulations assented to on 10 October 2001 and the recent regulations assented to on 21 February. In some cases, the latest proposed regulations will amend those earlier regulations.
The Government announced today that it intends to introduce into Parliament amendments relating to the anti-hawking and insider trading provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Provisions relating to these areas were inserted into the Corporations Act by the Financial Services Reform Act 2001 (Cth) and will come into effect on 11 March 2002. The Government's announcement is in response to concerns raised about the potential wide-reaching impact of these provisions in their current form.
The proposed amendments in relation to the anti-hawking provisions will:
- clarify the scope of the current restrictions on offers of financial products other than securities and managed investment interests;
- limit their application to offers made through personal meetings or telephone contact; and
- limit their application to offers to retail clients.
In relation to the current insider trading provisions, the Government plans to extend the scope of the current exceptions that deal with a person's knowledge of their own trading activities and intentions. It is intended to extend the exception to cover derivative products and, in particular, to ensure that OTC market makers will not be prevented from managing risk through the use of derivative products.
Second stage FSR regulations receive assent
21 February 2002
The Governor-General has now given Royal Assent to the FSR regulations made under the second stage of the Financial Services Reform process. These regulations build on the first set of regulations (which received Royal Assent on 10 October 2001). Most of the regulations commence on 11 March 2002. The main areas covered are:
- some takeover procedures
- exempting some products and arrangements from the definition of 'financial product'
- exempt documents
- conduct that does not constitute operating a clearing and settlement facility
- meaning of retail and wholesale client for some insurance products
- voting by security holders
- dealing in financial products (enforcement of rights)
- compensation regimes for financial markets
- licensing of financial services providers and financial services disclosure
- prohibition of hawking in relation to some financial products
- financial product disclosure and other issues relating to the issue and sale of financial products
- content of product disclosure statements re annuity extensions
- socially responsible disclosure
- short selling exemption
- lost members
- transitional arrangements for commencement of FSR legislation.
There are some additional regulations (in Schedule 2 of the Corporations Amendment Regulations 2002 (no 2)) dealing with some superannuation arrangements applying under family law legislation. They will come into operation on the commencement of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Superannuation) Act 2001.
Copies of the regulations and Treasury's commentary and the explanatory memoranda relating to them can be accessed here
ASIC releases guidance on 'opt-in' notices for issuers of financial products
21 February 2002
On 18 February 2002, ASIC released a Determination under ASIC Policy Statement 169 setting out the requirements to be met by financial product issuers who lodge a notice with ASIC under s1438(3)(b) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to opt in to the new financial product disclosure regime under Part 7.9 of that Act. In particular, product issuers who lodge these notices will be required to inform people identified in the legislation (basically, people whom the product issuer thinks are likely (within the first 90 days of the opt-in date) to be required under the legislation to provide a product disclosure statement in relation to the product or class of product to which the opt-in notice relates) about the notice and its significance.
Today, ASIC released the PDS opt-in notice (ASIC form FS50) that product issuers are required to lodge with ASIC. This form will only be relevant until the end of the transition period (ie, 10 March 2004) after which time it will be withdrawn by ASIC.
Government introduces new FSR legislation
14 February 2002
The Government introduced into Parliament today the Financial Services Reform (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2002.
ASIC releases FSR class orders
12 February 2002
ASIC has started releasing class orders as a result of changes introduced by the FSR legislation. The first set of class orders cover the following.
- Announcements to financial markets by holding companies about financial products other than securities
- Relief from duty to separate assets of a managed investment scheme - amendment [CO 02/139]
- Announcements to securities exchanges about offers by subsidiaries of the listed body - amendment
- Experts: citing in Product Disclosure Statements [CO 02/141]
- Pre-prospectus market research - amendment [CO 02/142]
- Financial product market research [CO 02/143]
- Financial products issued by a foreign issuer: incidental circulation of published material [CO 02/144]
- Relief from exposure period: managed investment products able to be traded on a licensed market
- Relief from exposure period: quoted securities - amendment [CO 02/146]
- Relief to facilitate issue of interests in registered schemes to New Zealand investors [CO 02/149]
- Foreign financial products: publishing of reports and notices [CO 02/150]
- School enrolment deposits [CO 02/151]
ASIC's policy on considering applications for and the issuing of class order relief in relation to certain FSR matters is contained in PS 167 Licensing: Discretionary powers and transition and PS169 Disclosure: Discretionary powers and transition.
Government releases further revised draft regulations
11 February 2002
The Government has released a further revised version of the draft regulations relating to FSR. The Government has announced that further revisions to the regulations are still required to address significant issues raised towards the end of the public consultation period (which ended on 31 January). The Government hopes to be able to release further draft amendments within the next few weeks.
ASIC releases electronic licensing system
11 February 2002
Following on from its release of the Financial Services Licensing kit on 1 February, ASIC has now released the eLicensing system for the Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). This system enables applicants to tailor their AFSL applications so that applicants are only required to answer questions that are relevant to their application. They can then lodge their applications electronically.
ASIC has confirmed that while it can accept AFSL applications prior to 11 March 2002, the applications cannot be lodged until after the fee regulations are final, which is expected to be shortly after 14 February.
ASIC releases Financial Services Licensing Kit
1 February 2002
ASIC has released the Financial Services Licensing Kit and an eLicensing design model, which are designed to assist applicants who are applying for the Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) under the FSR legislation. The licensing kit has been released now to enable applicants to become familiar with the licensing application process. The eLicensing design model shows the possible questions and outcomes of the eLicensing application system and provides guidance on applying for an AFSL. The eLicensing application will be available from ASIC after 11 February 2002 and can be lodged once the fee regulations are finalised, which is expected to be some time after 14 February.
Government releases revised draft regulations
17 January 2002
The Government has released a further set of draft regulations relating to FSR. These draft regulations are a revised version of the draft regulations released on 18 December 2001.
Public submissions on the draft regulations may be sent by 31 January 2002 by email to email@example.com or by post or fax to:
Ms Ruth Smith
Financial Markets Division
PARKES ACT 2600
Fax: (02) 6263 2882
ASIC announces series of national seminars on FSR implementation
16 January 2002
ASIC has announced a series of national seminars (which are being conducted by the Securities Institute of Australia on behalf of ASIC and other industry bodies) on implementation of the FSR legislation. Registration details are available at ASIC's website.
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