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Thursday 25 September 2014

14-250MR ASIC reports on decisions to cut red tape – February to May 2014

ASIC has released its latest report outlining decisions on relief applications covering the period 1 February to 31 May 2014.

Businesses frequently approach ASIC for assistance to help make the law work better for them. ASIC uses its discretion to vary or set aside certain requirements of the law where there is a net regulatory benefit or where ASIC can facilitate business or cut red tape without harming other stakeholders.

This is a key part of ASIC's function and between 1 February to 31 May 2014, ASIC approved 650 relief applications.

Report 411 Overview of decisions on relief applications (February to May 2014) (REP 411), aims to improve the level of transparency and the quality of publicly available information about decisions ASIC makes when asked to exercise its discretionary powers to grant relief from provisions of the:

  • Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act)
  • National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (National Credit Act), or
  • National Consumer Credit Protection (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Act 2009 (Transitional Act).

REP 411 also discusses the various relevant publications released by ASIC during the four months.

The report summarises examples of situations where ASIC has exercised, or refused to exercise, its exemption and modification powers under the Corporations Act and the licensing and responsible lending provisions of the National Credit Act. The report also highlights instances where ASIC has considered adopting a no-action position regarding specified non-compliance with statutory provisions.

Finally, the report provides examples of decisions that demonstrate how ASIC has applied its policy in practice which ASIC thinks will be of particular interest for capital market participants and for participants in the financial services industry. The report includes an appendix detailing the relief instruments referred to in the report.

Background

ASIC can modify or set aside certain provisions of Chapters 2D (officers and employees), 2J (share buy-backs), 2L (debentures), 2M (financial reporting and audit), 5C (managed investment schemes), 6 (takeovers), 6A (compulsory acquisitions and buy-outs), 6C (information about ownership of entities), 6D (fundraising) and 7 (financial services) of the Corporations Act.

ASIC also has powers to grant relief under the National Credit Act from the licensing provisions in Chapter 2 and the responsible lending conduct provisions in Chapter 3. ASIC has powers to give relief from the registration provisions in Schedule 2 of the Transitional Act.

In limited situations, ASIC may also consider providing a no-action letter when instances of non-compliance with certain statutory provisions have been brought to ASIC’s attention. A no-action letter states to a particular person that ASIC does not intend to take regulatory action over a particular state of affairs or particular conduct. The factors that ASIC will consider when dealing with a request for a no-action letter is set out in Regulatory Guide 108 No-action letters (RG 108).

ASIC publishes a copy of most of the relief instruments issued in the ASIC Gazette. Credit instruments are available from the ASIC website under credit relief.

Applying for relief

Applications for relief must be in writing and should address the requirements set out in Regulatory Guide 51 Applications for relief (RG 51) (and any other Regulatory Guides relevant to the application).

Applications can be submitted electronically to applications@asic.gov.au. Fees are applicable for relief applications.

Download

REP 411

Previous relief reports

Last updated: 25/09/2014 12:00