COVID-19 information – Managed investment schemes

This FAQ was last updated on 27 July 2020.

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions relating to managed investment schemes (schemes) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These FAQs do not constitute legal advice. You should seek your own professional advice to find out how the relevant regulatory requirements apply to you.

Lodging documents

1. Can I lodge electronic copies (rather than physical originals) of documents that are required to be lodged with ASIC under Chapter 5C?

The following electronic documents may be lodged online through either the AFS licensee portal or the registered agent portal for current AFS licensees, or through the registered agent portal for new AFS licence applicants:

  1. Form 5100 Application for registration of a managed investment scheme
  2. Initial constitution for a managed investment scheme
  3. Initial compliance plan for a managed investment scheme
  4. Form 5103 Directors' statement relating to application for registration of a managed investment scheme.

Scanned copies of the documents set out in subparagraph 1 (b) – (d) can be lodged via the AFS licensee portal or the registered agent portal.

In addition, breach reports are now submitted electronically via the transaction 'Submit Australian financial services licensee breach report', via the ASIC Regulatory Portal. Visit our information page for more detail about submitting breach reports on the portal.

All other documents and forms required to be lodged pursuant to Chapter 5C must be lodged by post in paper form.

Applications for relief or no-action letters should be submitted through the ASIC Regulatory Portal. Fees will apply to an application and details about payment options are provided in the portal. For more information see, how you apply for relief.

For more information on how to lodge other documents and forms, including specific lodgement details, visit the Forms and Lodging paper forms pages.

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2. Will ASIC accept electronic signatures on forms and documents required when applying to register a scheme?

ASIC will accept an electronic signature on the Form 5100 Application for registration of a managed investment scheme when the form is lodged through the AFS licensee portal or the registered agent portal.

Until 6 November 2020, ASIC will accept electronic signatures on company documents lodged with ASIC, including those accompanying an application for registration of a scheme. This is in line with the Treasurer’s temporary modification to the operation of s127 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act), which gives certainty that, when company officers sign a document electronically (including an electronic document) in accordance with the modified s127, the document has been validly executed.

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3. Will ASIC accept documents executed in counterparts?

We acknowledge that it may be difficult in the current circumstances for all directors to sign the same physical copy of a document.

Where the following documents are signed by more than one person ASIC will accept them for lodgement in counterparts:

  1. Form 5103 Directors' statement relating to application for registration of a managed investment scheme;
  2. The scheme’s compliance plan (including a modification or new plan); and
  3. Company documents signed under s127 of the Corporations Act (including the scheme constitution).

Where any of these documents are signed in counterparts and lodged as part of an application to register a scheme through the AFS licensee portal or the registered agent portal, the applicant must provide all separately signed counterparts of the document. These portals allow two documents to be uploaded for each of the compliance plan and constitution and one document to be uploaded for the Form 5103. If the number of counterparts exceeds the number of documents that may be uploaded, the counterparts must be scanned and uploaded as a single document.

Where any of these documents are signed in counterparts and lodged by post, the applicant must provide all separately signed counterparts of the document.

In circumstances where directors are not able to sign a compliance plan, modification or replacement compliance plan, an agent of the directors may sign these documents on their behalf. The agent’s authority or a copy verified by a director of the entity, must be attached to the plan or modification.

Where a compliance plan is lodged via the portal, the agent’s authority, or a copy verified by a director, must be uploaded with the compliance plan.

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Lodgement deadlines

5. When do I have to lodge financial reports?

ASIC has extended the deadline for listed and unlisted entities to lodge financial reports under Chapters 2M and 7 of the Corporations Act and the timeframe for completion of compliance plan audits by one month.

This applies to responsible entities, which must prepare and lodge, for each financial year:

  • for themselves and their registered schemes – financial reports, directors’ reports and auditor’s reports under Chapter 2M of the Corporations Act, and
  • for themselves – profit and loss and balance sheets (and other associated information) under Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act as an AFS licensee.

The relief also provides for an additional month for the completion of the compliance plan audit required under Chapter 5C of the Corporations Act.

The relief applies to financial reports of unlisted entities for year ends from 31 December 2019 to 7 July 2020. Listed entities will be able to take one additional month to report for full year and half-year financial reports for 21 February 2020 to 7 July 2020 balance dates. The 7 July 2020 date accommodates entities that use a provision in the Corporations Act, which allows their financial year to be changed by plus or minus seven days each year.

The extended deadlines will only apply where the normal reporting deadline has not already passed at the time that the relevant instrument of relief was registered.

Listed entities are required to inform the market when they rely on the extended period for lodgement. These entities may also find it desirable to explain the reasons for relying on the extended deadlines.

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Further information

6. Where can I find more information on schemes?

Important information on schemes can be found on our website and on the pages below:

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7. How has COVID-19 affected ASIC’s activities?

More information on ASIC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available on our website.

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8. Has ASIC amended the transitional arrangements in RG 97 instrument ASIC Corporations (Disclosure of Fees and Costs) Instrument 2019/1070?

Yes.

ASIC has now amended the transitional arrangements for PDSs to allow entities to come into the new disclosure regime from 30 September 2020. However, any PDS given on or after 30 September 2022 must comply with the new disclosure regime. This has provided more time and flexibility for issuers to move into the new regime than was previously allowed. There has been no change to the periodic statement transition arrangements. ASIC has issued a media release and updated the RG 97 webpage with this and the other minor amendments that have been made.

This FAQ was last updated 24 July 2020.

See also: details of changes to ASIC regulatory work and priorities in light of COVID- 19 (row 9).

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Last updated: 27/07/2020 08:26