ASIC has helped the law work better for business by granting over 700 applications for relief between 1 October 2018 and 31 March 2019.
ASIC’s latest report, Overview of decisions on relief applications (Oct 2018 to March 2019) (REP 620), outlines decisions on relief applications and highlights ASIC’s efforts to reduce red-tape and achieve a practical, positive outcome for companies seeking regulatory flexibility, without harming stakeholders.
During the period, ASIC granted relief from provisions of the Corporations Act or the National Credit Act in relation to 709 applications.
The granting of relief, which has a net regulatory benefit, or which facilitates business or cuts red tape is an important part of ASIC’s regulatory function. 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.
REP 620 lists publications released by ASIC during the period that may be relevant to prospective applicants for relief.
The report also provides examples 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, ASIC 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.