ASIC has released its latest report outlining decisions on relief applications, highlighting ASIC’s efforts to reduce red-tape and achieve a practical, positive outcome for companies seeking some regulatory flexibility.
The granting of relief which has a net regulatory benefit, or which facilitates business or cuts red tape without harming stakeholders, is an important part of ASIC’s regulatory function and demonstrates our commitment to helping the law work better for businesses.
The reporting of ASIC’s decisions on relief applications aims to provide transparency about our decision making and to better inform businesses about the circumstances in which we grant relief.
Report 574 Overview of decisions on relief applications (October 2017 to March 2018) (REP 574) notes that between 1 October 2017 and 31 March 2018, ASIC granted relief from provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act) or the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (National Credit Act) in relation to 766 applications.
REP 574 sets out various publications released by ASIC during the six months that may be relevant to prospective applicants for relief.
It also 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.
ASIC can modify or set aside certain provisions of the Corporations Act, including Chapters 2D (officers and employees), 2G (meetings), 2M (financial reporting and audit), 5C (managed investment schemes), 6 (takeovers), 6D (fundraising) and 7 (financial services).
ASIC also has powers to grant relief under the provisions of Chapters 2 (licensing) and 3 (responsible lending) of the National Credit Act and from all or specified provisions of the National Credit Code, which is in Sch 1 to the National Credit 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 are set out in Regulatory Guide 108 No-action letters (RG 108).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Fees are applicable for relief applications.
To ensure that applications are assessed as quickly and efficiently as possible, we will continue to strictly enforce our policy to refuse applications for relief where the required information is not provided. Where we have asked for additional information within a specified time period - and a reasonable explanation is not provided for any delay - we may refuse an application for relief.