Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) Compliance Services
The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) requires you to obtain an Australian Financial Services Licence (“AFSL”) if you carry on a business of providing financial services. The following list summarises the various financial services which may be offered:
Providing financial product advice.
Dealing in a financial product.
Making a market for a financial product.
Operating a registered scheme.
Providing a custodial or depository service.
Providing traditional trustee company services.
Below are some of the financial products which are referred to:
Life risk insurance products.
Margin lending facilities.
Unfortunately, the procedure to obtain an AFSL is not a quick process and ASIC does not provide any shortcuts!
Ariel & Associates will undertake the process to obtain an AFSL on your behalf. We will draft the requisite documentation and ensure that you have sufficient resources in order to comply with your legislative and regulatory requirements.
The following provides guidance as to the services we provide you in order to obtain an AFSL:
1. AFSL Authorisations
To demonstrate our commitment to our clients’ best interests, Ariel & Associates will conduct an extensive consultative approach to ensure that your proposed activities are properly covered by the authorisations you are seeking to be included on your AFSL.
It is important to be aware that there are some products which exhibit characteristics of more than one financial product - an option is one such example, as is a currency future. As such, it is essential to seek professional advice in order to ensure that you obtain the correct AFSL authorisations.
It is also vital that you consider the types of clients you will be acting on behalf of - for example, retail and wholesale, or just wholesale. There are a significant number of compliance obligations which are relaxed if you do not maintain any retail clients - for example, documentation, disclosure, advisor training and membership of an external disputes resolution scheme.
2. Responsible Managers
The AFSL authorisations and conditions which ASIC will grant are dependent on the individual(s) nominated as Responsible Managers. Ariel & Associates will ensure that your nominating Responsible Managers have the appropriate skills, competencies and experience to support the applicable financial services and financial products.
If you do not meet this specific requirement, ASIC will either refuse to allow the particular AFSL authorisation or condition; or request that the applicant appoint an additional Responsible Manager. This will obviously cause a delay in the application process.
At Ariel & Associates, we will not proceed with the application process if we believe that your nominating Responsible Managers would not satisfy ASIC’s strict criteria.
3. AFSL Application Documentation
Ariel & Associates will draft all the appropriate documentation to support your AFSL application. This includes the Proof Documents (for example A5, B1, B5, etc) as well as other accompanying documentation (for example, Compliance Manuals, Risk Registers, disclosure documents, cash-flow projections, business references for Responsible Managers, etc).
Our AFSL documents have been created in order to comply with the content requirements as stipulated in the relevant ASIC Regulatory Guides. It is important to note that they are not simply pro forma templates which are mass produced - each document is tailored for each client to ensure that all applicable information is recorded.
4. Liaise with ASIC
Once an AFSL application has been lodged, ASIC will review the submitted documentation and respond with a further set of queries, questions and/or requests for additional information. Ariel & Associates will act on your behalf and will continue to do so until your AFSL application has been approved.
5. Ongoing AFSL Compliance
Once you have obtained your AFSL, we will ensure that you have proper policies and procedures to evidence your ongoing compliance with the relevant legislation going forward. We look forward to maintaining an ongoing relationship with you.
If you are seeking to change your AFSL to add or remove new authorisations or to even remove a Key Person, you will need to lodge an application to vary your AFSL (ASIC Form FS03). The process is fairly similar to applying for a new AFSL, however, there may be some exemptions to facilitate the application.
Accountants’ Limited AFSL Applications
With the changing of the relevant legislation, accountants now require an AFSL in order to undertake certain activities relating to the provision of advice and the establishment of a self-managed superannuation fund (“SMSF”).
Ariel & Associates can assist you with obtaining a limited AFSL as well as advising you as to your legislative and regulatory responsibilities.