ASIC Limited Licence Checks

Following the cessation of the accountants’ exemption, self-managed superannuation funds (“SMSFs”) became a financial product under the licensing provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (“the Act”). From 30 June 2016, those accountants wishing to provide advisory and dealing services in regard to SMSFs needed to either obtain an Australian Financial Services (“AFS”) Licence, or be appointed as an Authorised Representative of another licensee.

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ASIC Review on Licensees Which Hold Assets

ASIC has released the findings of a report following a review of compliance procedures by those licensees with asset holding obligations imposed by ASIC Regulatory Guide (“RG”) 133 Managed Investments and Custodial or Depository Services: Holding Assets.

The safekeeping of clients’ funds and property (assets) is a critical functionality in the financial services sector. The conduct of such participants has a direct correlation on the level of investor trust and confidence in the financial system as a whole.

 

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Joint Operation Between ASIC and FWO

The Fair Work Ombudsman and ASIC will audit 50 businesses in the Melbourne CBD and inner suburbs in their second joint operation.

On 20 and 21 June 2017, Fair Work inspectors will be checking time and wage records to ensure employers are paying their workers correctly and complying with pay slip and record-keeping requirements.

Concurrently, ASIC analysts will be conducting site visits to raise awareness of the role of ASIC and the tools and resources that are available to assist small businesses with their compliance obligations.

For further information, click here.

Should you have any queries about ASIC or other issues involving compliance, licensing, or corporate governance, please contact Jeremy Danon, director of Ariel & Associates Pty Ltd on (02) 8223 3355 or at jeremy@ariel.associates.

ASIC - A New Funding Model

For some time now, ASIC has floated the idea of having a user pay system in regard to financial service licensees. This has been in response to the never ending chorus of insufficient resources due to a lack of funding.

The Australian Government conceived the idea of such a model in April 2016 (following a recommendation from the Murray Financial System Inquiry) whereby those entities who created the need for and benefited from financial services regulation would fund ASIC.

ASIC heralded the passage of the ASIC Supervisory Cost Recovery Levy Bill 2017 (Cth) and its related bills through the Australian Senate on 15 June 2017 with ASIC Chairman, Mr Greg Medcraft noting that the bill enjoyed support across the political spectrum.

From 1 July 2017, ASIC’s regulatory costs will be funded by industry participants through the imposition of annual levies.

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ASIC Report on Registered Funds

ASIC has today released the findings of a surveillance review into the registered managed investment schemes sector. In all, ASIC’s review included 28 Responsible Entities across 336 schemes - which represented about 9% of all current schemes.

A Responsible Entity is the body corporate responsible for the management and operation of a registered managed investment scheme - that is a scheme which maintains retail clients. On top of its general obligations as a licensee, a Responsible Manager is also subject to:

  • Acting in the best interest of the scheme’s members.

  • Ensuring compliance with the scheme’s compliance plan.

  • Ensuring the scheme property is clearly identified and held separately from property from other schemes or from the Responsible Entity itself.

  • Holding the scheme property on trust.

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Briefing for Limited AFS Licensees

It has been almost 12 months since the requirement that all accountants who provide services covering Self-Managed Superannuation Funds be appropriately licensed. Accountants could either obtain their own Australian Financial Services (“AFS”) Licence, or be appointed as an Authorised Representative of a licensee with the appropriate authorisations.

Ariel & Associates Pty Ltd invites you to a free briefing to assist you with your obligations as financial services provider, especially as we approach financial year end.

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ASIC’s Approach to Regulatory Technology

In March 2015, ASIC established an Innovation Hub which was designed to assist financial technology (“fintech”) businesses navigate the financial services system. Similarly, ASIC has taken proactive steps to ensure it engages with industry in regard to developments in regulatory technology (“regtech”).

ASIC has defined regtech as “the use of new technologies to solve regulatory and compliance requirements more effectively and efficiently. These technologies could include use of artificial intelligence, natural language processing, data reporting, regulatory codification and big data analysis technologies.”

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Proposals to consolidate the ASIC Market Integrity Rules

As a result of the growing number of market operators in the Australian financial sector, market market supervision and real-time surveillance was transferred from the Australian Securities Exchange (“ASX”) to ASIC in August 2010. As a result, ASIC drafted specific rules for each Market Operator, which became known as the Market Integrity Rules.

There are Market Integrity Rules for all current Market Operators - including the ASX, ASX24, Chi-X, National Stock Exchange of Australia (“NSXA”), Sydney Stock Exchange and Financial and Energy Exchange. Additional Rules have been drafted to cover competition in market rules and capital requirements.

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