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Each year when I write a “year in review” I go through my past articles to see if there is a theme or a single important event. This year it wasn’t hard to choose the dominant topic: I created a new category on my website for COVID-19 in March! My recollection of April and May this year (the “first wave”) is the stream of announcements and temporary exemptions and daily live broadcasts of press conferences.…
ASIC’s Licensing and professional registration activities: 2020 update (Report 671) highlights new requirements for licensees, prospective applicants and service providers. The Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response—Stronger Regulators (2019 Measures)) Act 2020 has resulted in substantive additional assessment requirements in 2020. Background. Fit and proper person test for AFS licence applications ASIC is now required to have regard to a ‘fit and proper person’ test for AFS licence applications as well…
The ASIC Credit (Amendment) Instrument 2020/963 has been registered. It amends the ASIC Credit (Deferral of Mortgage Broker Obligations) Instrument 2020/487 so that it applies in relation to a credit service provided before 1 January 2021, irrespective of when the benefit is given. The ASIC Credit (Deferral of Mortgage Broker Obligations) Instrument 2020/487 provides a temporary exemption until 1 January 2021 from (among other matters) the ban on mortgage brokers giving or accepting conflicted remuneration…
The Commonwealth Government has announced a review of the regulatory architecture of the Australian payments system. The review is to ensure the payments system remains fit for purpose and is capable of supporting innovation for the benefit of businesses and consumers. The review is to provide a report to the Government by April 2021. Background. Separately the Reserve Bank has released the annual report for 2020 of the Payments System Board. The Report…
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has confirmed that on 1 November 2020, the six-month COVID-19 temporary time extension for financial firms to provide responses to financial difficulty complaints within 30 days instead of 21 days will come to an end. Background. From 1 November 2020, AFCA’s process will revert to the original response timeframes, giving financial firms 21 days to respond to financial difficulty complaints and complaints that have already been through internal…
Treasury has released for consultation an Exposure Draft of the Corporations Amendment (virtual meetings and electronic communications) Bill 2020 which amends the Corporations Act to make permanent the temporary COVID-19 relief, which allows companies to hold meetings virtually, send meeting-related materials electronically and validly execute documents electronically. If passed, the Bill allows electronic means or alternative technologies to be used to: • execute company documents; • hold meetings of directors of a company, meetings of shareholders…
The recent announcements of consumer credit changes (including to responsible lending) and insolvency law reform will affect your regulatory change planning and preparation. Here’s a snapshot of key changes coming up (that have been passed or announced) for the rest of 2020 and 2021. The Government says that by 30 June 2021, legislation for all Financial Service Royal Commission recommendations requiring legislative change will have been introduced into parliament. These changes and other reviews will…
Overview In a Budget that focusses on fiscal policies and tax changes, there are a number of references to issues related to financial services regulation. Digital Business The Government’s Digital Business Plan is intended to improve productivity, income growth and jobs by supporting the adoption of digital technologies by Australian businesses. Measures to reduce regulatory barriers include: • continued implementation of the Consumer Data Right • delivery of a Regtech Commercialisation Initiative to streamline Government…
The Commonwealth Attorney-General has released a draft National WHS COVID-19 Model Code of Practice to provide businesses and workers guidance on what they need to do to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace. The draft code builds on the National Cabinet’s COVID-19 safe workplace principles, which included establishing Safe Work Australia as a central source of practical guidance and tools on managing the WHS risks of COVID-19. Until there is an effective vaccine…
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has issued comments on “better practice” for authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) assessment and management of loans with repayment deferrals. ADIs are encouraged by APRA to consider the following areas of better practice identified through its review of plans submitted by ADI’s: Governance and oversight: regular operational reporting to senior management to enable timely escalation of issues that may require management attention and oversight of progress against the implementation of…