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Tuesday 29 March 2016

16-095MR ASIC facilitates easier electronic disclosure under the ePayments Code

ASIC has today announced changes to the ePayments Code that will make it easier for businesses to give information to their customers in a digital form.

Under the changes, subscribers to the ePayments Code will be able to give information to their customers by making it available electronically and notifying the consumer. This follows similar changes ASIC made last year to the Corporations Act.

ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell said, ‘The changes mean that documents under the ePayments Code can be delivered to consumers digitally as the default option, unless the consumer opts out. This will reduce the costs of printing and mailing for businesses while preserving choice for those consumers who wish to receive paper.

‘Promoting the delivery of information in an electronic form is consistent with ASIC’s objectives, as well as the nature of payments governed by the Code.

‘ASIC encourages  industry to harness the opportunities of digitisation and to adopt the use of more engaging forms of communication  that can boost consumers’ understanding of financial services and products’, Mr Kell said

A summary of amendments made to the ePayments Code is available on the ASIC website.

Updated guidance on digital disclosure

ASIC has also released an updated version of Regulatory Guide 221 Facilitating digital financial services disclosure (RG 221). We have made minor changes to RG 221 that:

  • refer to our modification of the ePayments Code;
  • indicate that our general guidance on digital disclosure is also relevant to information given under the ePayments Code; and
  • update our guidance to include recent technical amendments we made to our relief under the Corporations Act.

Background

In July 2015, ASIC published RG 221 and two relief instruments under the Corporations Act (see 15-198MR). Among other things, this work facilitated the use of innovative digital disclosures by:

  • explaining our view that providers do not need ASIC relief in most instances to use clients’ electronic addresses for delivery of disclosures;
  • giving relief to create a new method of digital delivery under the Corporations Act enabling financial services providers to publish disclosures digitally and notify the client that it is available;
  • providing additional good practice guidance for digital disclosure (Appendix D of RG 221) to help ensure that clients continue to receive clear, concise and effective information when disclosures are delivered digitally and that consumer protections are retained in the digital environment.

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Last updated: 29/03/2016 11:21