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Banks & Financial Institutions

Our experienced Banking & Financial Services legal team regularly publishes articles and updates – the full list of publications appears below. These publications provide a snapshot of the latest legislation, court cases, policy changes and contentious issues. If you'd like to be notified when we add new publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

For publications in other legal areas see our recent publications page.

Banks & Financial Institutions Publications

  • Client Update: Third tranche of draft CCIV legislation released

    18 October 2018

    Draft legislation intended to address some of the continuing gaps in the proposed corporate collective investment vehicle framework has been released, with submissions on it closing soon. Partner Marc Kemp and Associate Mai Go report.

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  • Pulse: Cyber security

    17 October 2018

    In this bulletin, we offer a practical guide for navigating cyber security risks in M&A transactions; examine the obstacles that data breach class actions face in Australia and lessons learned from high profile class actions overseas; explore the prevalence of data breaches in the healthcare sector; track the ongoing effects of Yahoo's 2014 data breach; and consider the debate at home and abroad about whether 'hacking back' against cyber criminals is a viable (and legal) option.

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  • Unravelled: Slater & Gordon begins its superannuation class actions

    11 October 2018

    In our article on competing class actions dated 20 August 2018, we made the fairly obvious observation that the Royal Commission would inevitably prove to be a hot bed for class actions. And in years to come, we will undoubtedly look back on the Royal Commission as a watershed moment in class action history, which, just like the GFC, spawned multiple large and long-running class actions.

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  • Unravelled: Efficiently, honestly and fairly - overarching and fundamental obligations?

    11 October 2018

    In his recent Interim Report into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, Commissioner Hayne makes a lot of the duties of an Australian financial services licensee and an Australian credit licensee to provide financial services or credit activities, as the case may be, efficiently, honestly and fairly.

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  • Linklaters Insights: China releases highly anticipated provisional Panda bond guidelines

    5 October 2018

    The People’s Bank of China and the Ministry of Finance have recently released the highly anticipated preliminary Panda bond guidelines, which took effect immediately. According to the PBOC, the aggregate value of Panda bonds issued in China’s Interbank Bond Market from 2005 to August 2018 is RMB178.16 billion (approximately US$25.94 billion). The Guidelines have been released in a move to encourage more foreign issuers (i.e. sovereigns, international development institutions, financial institutions and non-financial enterprises established outside China) to participate in CIBM.

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  • Client Update: ASIC extends by a further year licensing relief for foreign financial service providers

    3 October 2018

    The recent ASIC Corporations (Amendment) Instrument 2018/807 extends by a further year licensing relief for foreign financial service providers who carry on a financial services business in Australia without an Australian financial services licence. While it's another welcome licensing reprieve for such providers, it is likely to be short lived, as ASIC continues to consult on its proposals in Consultation Paper 301. Partner Penny Nikoloudis, Financial Services Counsel Jo Ottaway and Lawyer Tom Lawson report.

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  • Unravelled: Royal Commission: Round 1 - experiences with consumer lending practices

    2 October 2018

    In examining the topic of consumer lending, the Commission considered issues arising from the sale of credit products – including residential mortgages, car finance and credit cards - by reference to case studies involving the four major banks as well as Aussie Home Loans and Citi.

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  • Unravelled: Royal Commission: Round 2 - experiences with financial advice

    2 October 2018

    Although the Commissioner says that the Royal Commission is part of the executive and not the judiciary and that he is therefore not able to make any findings of law, he comes pretty close in his views in response to Round 2. And in some important respects, those views do not correspond with conventional views.

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  • Unravelled: Royal Commission: Round 3 – experiences with SME lending

    2 October 2018

    The third round of the Royal Commission's hearings concerned lending practices to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The hearings considered a range of case studies.

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  • Unravelled: Royal Commission: Round 4 – experiences with financial service entities in regional and remote communities

    2 October 2018

    In the Interim Report, the Commissioner identifies four principal issues relating to agricultural lending.

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  • Client Update: Treasury proposes tougher penalties for corporate and financial sector misconduct

    26 September 2018

    The Federal Government has released exposure draft legislation for public consultation that, if enacted, will implement many of the recommendations of the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce to strengthen the penalty regime for corporate and financial sector misconduct. Partner Simun Soljo and Lawyer Roseanna Bricknell take a look at the proposed laws.

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  • Unravelled: Are CCIVS the beginning of the end for the Unit Trust's monopoly?

    19 September 2018

    Avid, or even occasional, readers of Unravelled over the past few years cannot have failed to notice the Federal Government's proposal to introduce two new forms of collective investment vehicle – each a shiny, tax-neutral alternative to the unit trust which (and note the heavy dose of self-interest here) will hopefully lead to a marked reduction in the sleepless nights and migraines resulting from the task of explaining the finer points of trust law to overseas counterparties and their advisers.

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  • Unravelled: Close and continuous monitoring - the new ASIC approach of embedding its officers in banks

    19 September 2018

    ASIC has recently announced a new supervisory approach that involves embedding ASIC officers in the four major banks and AMP. The initial media reporting on this approach suggested that it would involve embedding 'teams of up to 20 agents for weeks at a time to sit with bank staff, drop into meetings and trail the CEO, executives and directors to identify misconduct before it arises.'

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  • Focus: How ipso facto provisions (and exemptions) affect project finance - both good and bad news

    5 September 2018

    The new ipso facto regime applies to contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2018. It imposes a stay on the exercise of certain contractual rights in some insolvency regimes (administration and some receiverships and schemes of arrangement, but not liquidation). There are many exemptions from the regime, some of which will be relevant to project finance. Partner Scott McCoy, Senior Finance Counsel Diccon Loxton and Senior Associate Isabel Cropley discuss some of the issues.

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  • Client Update: Competition in electricity and financial services markets - common issues, common solutions?

    30 August 2018

    The level of competition in both the electricity and financial services sectors has been closely scrutinised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Productivity Commission. While there are fundamental differences in market structures in both sectors, the respective commissions have identified common concerns and made common proposals to address those concerns.

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  • Client Update: Full Federal Court speaks on competing class actions

    30 August 2018

    In the latest instalment in the attempts to deal with competing shareholder class actions, the Full Federal Court has ordered the transfer of four shareholder class actions against AMP to the Supreme Court of New South Wales, where a fifth class action is already pending. In doing so, the court gave the clearest indication yet that multiple class actions raising similar issues should not be permitted to proceed. It also acknowledged in more express terms than ever before that competing class actions are really all about the competing interests of class action promoters and not group members. Partner Jenny Campbell and Linklaters Associate Gert-Jan Hendrix report.

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  • Unravelled: Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission alleges significant superannuation misconduct

    27 August 2018

    The list of alleged breaches are divided into breaches of the SIS Act, the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act we consider each of these and what it might mean.

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  • Unravelled: Expert review into fees and costs disclosure - further changes ahead

    20 August 2018

    Many of you will be familiar with the long and tortured history of fees and costs disclosure regulation in Australia. The most recent set of issues can be traced back to 2014, when ASIC tried to address what it considered to be gaps in and inconsistent application of the former regime.

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  • Unravelled: Competing class actions - a problem in need of a solution

    20 August 2018

    As fertile ground for class actions, the Royal Commission has highlighted an ongoing problem with Australia's class action regime – there is no clear, consistent means for resolving competing class actions.

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  • Client Update: ASIC's allocations project - guidance from abroad

    13 August 2018

    ASIC is examining the allocations process in capital raising transactions. We report on ASIC's allocations project and the influences that the regulators in the UK and in Europe may have on the project.

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  • Client Update: Design and distribution of financial products - regulating 'retail product distribution conduct'

    30 July 2018

    The revised exposure draft Bill concerning design and distribution obligations for issuers and distributors of financial products, and new intervention powers for ASIC, includes some modest, yet mostly welcome, changes to the December 2017 exposure draft. Senior Regulatory Counsel Michael Mathieson reports.

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  • Unravelled: Update on the Royal Commission

    19 July 2018

    Have you been wondering what the Royal Commission will make of the numerous witness statements and vast amounts of other information collected from superannuation trustees in recent times? You will find out soon enough. But first, there are some curiosities from the Round Four hearings to consider – including a hint as to what the superannuation hearings will include.

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  • Unravelled: Where we are with superannuation retirement income changes

    19 July 2018

    The Government has slowly been changing the superannuation retirement income system, with the aim of increasing the range of retirement products available to Australians. A number of changes have already been implemented, and more are to come with the proposed 'Comprehensive Income Products for Retirement' (CIPRs) regime. We thought it was a good time to take stock and look ahead.

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  • Unravelled: Australian Financial Complaints Authority: a 'one-stop-shop' for financial dispute resolution

    19 July 2018

    The new Australian Financial Complaints Authority is to replace each of the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Credit and Investments Ombudsman in November 2018.

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  • Focus: VLRC takes first cut at class action reform

    22 June 2018

    The Victorian Law Reform Commission has completed its review of Victoria's class action regime, with a particular focus on the effect of litigation funding. The report calls for national regulation of litigation funding, lifting the ban on contingency fees both generally and in class actions (balanced with appropriate regulatory measures) and a greater supervisory role for the Victorian Supreme Court in the management of class actions. Managing Associate Kate Austin, Associate Kelly Roberts and Lawyer Katerina Dandanis discuss.

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  • Unravelled: What might the PC review into superannuation mean for fund investments?

    22 June 2018

    The Productivity Commission Draft Report into the Efficiency and Competitiveness of Australia's superannuation system, weighing in at a substantial 549 pages, contains a treasure trove of information on, and analysis of, a wide range of aspects of the industry.

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  • Unravelled: Update on the Royal Commission

    22 June 2018

    A lot has happened since our most recent update. The Royal Commission has published the submissions received from ASIC and industry participants on policy questions posed by Counsel Assisting at the end of the financial advice hearings. And the small business lending hearings have been held.

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  • Client Update: The end of the unit trust monopoly - tranche 1 of the revised CCIV bill

    15 June 2018

    On 13 June 2018, the Federal Government released the first tranche of the revised exposure draft legislation for the new corporate collective investment vehicle, one of the two forms of collective investment vehicle which it pledged to develop as part of the 2016-2017 budget. We are undertaking a comprehensive review of the draft for the purpose of preparing submissions to Treasury and will provide further updates in due course. In the meantime, Partner Penny Nikoloudis, Senior Overseas Practitioner James Kanabar and Associate Mai Go provide a high-level overview of the draft.

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  • Client Update: ASIC overhauls AFS licensing relief for foreign financial service providers

    5 June 2018

    The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has released its highly anticipated consultation paper on licensing relief for foreign financial services providers. The said new licensing regime will be broadly in line with that applied to other AFS licensees, but with relief from some provisions of the Australian Corporations Act and the imposition of certain additional tailored licence conditions. Partner Penny Nikoloudis, Senior Associate Jo Ottaway and Law Graduate Tom Lawson report.

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  • Allens insights: International Comparative Legal Guide to Project Finance 2018 - Australia

    25 May 2018

    Partners Ben Farnsworth and Michael Ryan outline the main trends and significant developments in Australian project finance. Among other factors, they discuss restrictions on foreign investment, bankruptcy and restructuring proceedings, tax, and political risk in relation to changes in law.

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  • Unravelled: 2018-19 Federal Budget - superannuation

    15 May 2018

    The 2018-19 Federal Budget has introduced a number of proposed superannuation-related changes, with a focus on protecting small balances, young members and existing retirees.

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  • Unravelled: Breach reporting by AFS licensees

    15 May 2018

    In the hurly burly of the Royal Commission’s recent hearings concerning financial advice, you may have missed some very important information about breach reporting by AFS licensees contained in the witness statement prepared by Mr Peter Kell, Deputy Chair of ASIC.

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  • Unravelled: Royal Commission update

    15 May 2018

    The hearings in the Financial Services Royal Commission have been compulsory viewing, not only for financial services industry participants and their regulators and professional service providers. The hearings have exposed wide-ranging actual or alleged wrongful conduct that has captured the attention of politicians, media and the general public.

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  • Focus: Federal Government's bold vision for data availability and use

    4 May 2018

    The Federal Government's response to the Productivity Commission's report on data availability and use, released this week, outlines a bold vision but has a surprising lack of detail, suggesting implementation is likely to be some way off. If legislation is introduced, the new regime will result in a fundamental change to the way Australian consumers, businesses and government agencies interact with and think about data. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associate Jessica Selby and Lawyer Claudia Hall predict the key impacts.

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  • Pulse: Cyber security

    3 May 2018

    In this bulletin, we give you the rundown on proposed reforms to encryption laws; offer a practical guide to cyber insurance; look at APRA's proposal for a cross-industry framework for information security; give tips for fostering a culture of cyber awareness; examine the key findings from the OAIC's first quarterly report under the new Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme; and look at the steps that governments at home and abroad are taking to combat the growing risk of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure.

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  • Focus: ASIC's sanctions and powers to be strengthened

    23 April 2018

    The Federal Government has announced that it proposes to strengthen ASIC's powers, and to increase the severity of penalties (civil and criminal) that can be imposed on individuals and corporations, in line with the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce's recommendations. Partner Rachel Nicolson and Senior Overseas Practitioner Chris Kerrigan report.

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  • Unravelled: Draft code of ethics for financial advisers - in need of much more work

    9 April 2018

    You would be hard pressed to find a bigger load of nonsense than the draft code of ethics for financial advisers issued recently by the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority.

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  • Unravelled: CCIVs: lost in translation?

    9 April 2018

    The long-awaited Exposure Draft containing the tax treatment of the proposed new corporate collective investment vehicle (CCIV) was released for consultation on 20 December 2017. The CCIV is one of two main proposed solutions to the problem that offshore investors are dissuaded from investing in Australian funds because they do not understand unit trusts. The tax treatment of CCIVs will go a long way to determining their success.

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  • Unravelled: The Royal Commission heats up

    9 April 2018

    The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry is well underway, with its first round of public hearings wrapping up less than a month ago. By reference to a number of case studies, the first round of hearings focused on consumer lending practices. In this article, we report on the key themes identified by the Commission as arising from the hearings.

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  • Client Update: Asia Region Funds Passport Bill introduced

    6 April 2018

    Nearly nine years after the Johnson Report recommended the establishment of an Asia Region Funds Passport, last week the Corporations Amendment (Asia Region Funds Passport) Bill was introduced into Parliament, delivering on Australia's commitment as set out in the Asian Region Funds Passport's Memorandum of Cooperation. Partner Penny Nikoloudis and Associate Mai Go report on this significant milestone.

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  • Focus: Trustee insolvency - the Full Federal Court weighs in to the debate

    29 March 2018

    We recently examined the implications of a Victorian Court of Appeal decision on trustee insolvency in the Amerind Appeal1. As we foreshadowed, the Full Federal Court has just released its decision on similar issues.2 It came to a similar position to the Victorian court in deciding that trust assets should be applied first in paying employees and other statutory preferred creditors (though for varied reasons). But it came to the opposite position in holding that trust assets could only go to trust creditors, not non-trust creditors. That finding will cheer lenders and others dealing with trusts, but leaves a confused landscape. Partner Philip Blaxill, Senior Finance Counsel Diccon Loxton and Associate Lucas Tan report.

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  • Client Update: Parliamentary Committee reports on the life insurance industry

    28 March 2018

    The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services has published its report on the life insurance industry. The report includes a nice summary of previous 'inquiries, reviews, reforms and events' since 2013. The Committee appears to think that all of these previous efforts have been more or less inadequate. Senior Regulatory Counsel Michael Mathieson reports.

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  • Unravelled: Preparing a target market determination for a financial product

    21 March 2018

    As the 'design and distribution' obligations for issuers and distributors of financial products inch closer, there is a good deal of hand-wringing taking place. Much of it concerns what a target market determination should look like. Guidance from the European Securities and Markets Authority on MiFID II provides a sense of what local issuers may be in for. But first - Treasury's proposal.

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  • Unravelled: Personal advice and the best interests duty

    21 March 2018

    There has been a great deal of attention given to the meanings of 'financial product advice' and 'personal advice' in the Corporations Act and many of us are eagerly waiting to see what Justice Gleeson will say about the topic in the case ASIC has brought against the BT trustees. However, whatever Her Honour decides in that case, it is unlikely to help very much, because the line between general advice and personal advice will always turn on the facts and, where the facts change with each interaction with a customer or client, it will continue to be difficult for licensees to be confident that they and their representatives are not giving personal advice. While that is a pity, it is, in my view, a greater pity that more licensees are not prepared to take the plunge and give personal advice. If licensees assumed that their interactions with customers and clients about financial products was personal advice, the difference between general advice and personal advice would not matter much.

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  • Focus: Statutory priority of secured creditors and trustee insolvency: implications of Re Amerind appeal decision

    13 March 2018

    The recent unanimous Victorian Court of Appeal decision1 in an appeal from Re Amerind has been widely welcomed by insolvency practitioners and others, as it brought some clarity to the question of whether the statutory order of priority applies to trust creditors. However, not all aspects of the decision will be as widely welcomed. In particular, in favouring a previous controversial decision of the court suggesting that trust assets should be applied in paying non-trust creditors, the Court of Appeal has resurrected a longstanding debate. Trust creditors and beneficiaries will be concerned if it is followed. Further, though insolvency practitioners and statutory preferred creditors will be generally pleased by the court's adoption of a wide interpretation of what is a 'circulating security interest' for the purpose of determining statutory priorities, it will concern secured creditors. Partner Philip Blaxill, Senior Finance Counsel Diccon Loxton and Associate Lucas Tan reflect on the decision and its ramifications.

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  • Contract Law Update 2017

    7 March 2018

    The phrase 'ready and willing to perform a contract' is very familiar to lawyers. But what exactly does it mean, and why is it important? The NSW Court of Appeal gave the answer last year in one of many interesting appellate decisions summarised in our annual Contract Law Update. Some other principles considered during the year include: When can a purchaser terminate a share purchase agreement following due diligence? When will illegality prevent a contract being enforced? What is the latest on the Bellgrove Principle? When does a new contract terminate an earlier contract between the same parties? We also look at the latest cases on contractual interpretation, contract formation and the penalties doctrine.

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  • Allens insights: Australia - Fund Finance 2018, 2nd Edition

    27 February 2018

    Fund financing activities in Australia remained strong in 2017, with particular focus on infrastructure, private equity funds and private debt funds, which have taken advantage of the additional liquidity and funding flexibility in this market. Allens Partner Tom Highnam, Managing Associate Rita Pang and Senior Associate Victoria Johns provide an overview of the funds landscape in Australia, key developments and the outlook for the next 12 months.

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  • Focus: Move to require big banks' participation in comprehensive credit reporting

    23 February 2018

    The Federal Government has introduced draft legislation to establish a long-awaited mandatory comprehensive credit reporting regime for the major banks from 1 July 2018. Partner Gavin Smith, Senior Associate Emily Cravigan and Lawyer Dougald Coulson report.

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  • Client Update: ACCC's Enforcement and Compliance priorities for 2018

    22 February 2018

    A number of industries and issues are in the spotlight following release of the ACCC's 2018 Enforcement and Compliance Priorities by ACCC Chairman Rod Sims on 20 February 2018. The financial services, energy, commercial construction and agriculture sectors will be a focus in 2018, as well as the post-Harper misuse of market power and concerted practices provisions, digital platforms and large franchisors.

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  • Pulse: Cyber security

    21 February 2018

    In this bulletin, we shine a light on the incoming Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme. We assume that with the scheme taking effect this week, you're now across the basics (if not, you can read about them here and here). So, this issue highlights the things you didn't know that you need to know, how to deal with data breaches involving multiple organisations, the key takeaways from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's just-published Data breach preparation and response guide and our quick reference guides to preparing a data breach response plan, determining when you've suffered an eligible data breach and how to notify when you have.

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