Changes in ASIC regulatory work and priorities due to COVID-19 – implications for fund managers

ASIC has announced temporary changes to its regulatory work due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes include the deferral of some activities and redeployment of ASIC staff to address issues of immediate concern.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASIC has said it will:

  • increase its market supervision work;
  • heighten its support for consumers who may be vulnerable to scams; and
  • identify other actions such as facilitating the timely completion of capital raisings and providing regulatory relief.

ASIC has provided updates on the timing of the following workflows that are of relevance to fund managers:

  • Grandfathered renumeration: ASIC is deferring work on grandfathered conflicted remuneration until further notice.
  • RG 97: ASIC is continuing its work on RG 97 including considering amending the transitional arrangements for product disclosure statements (PDS) to allow entities to come into the new disclosure regime from 30 September 2020 and requiring any PDS given after 30 September 2022 to comply with the new disclosure regime.
  • AFS Licensing: ASIC will continue to receive and assess applications for AFS and credit licences. ASIC is now seeking additional information on how applicants will manage their obligations due to the changed operating environment in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Financial Services Royal Commission reforms: ASIC will provide further advice on changes to work implementing the recommendations of the Financial Services Royal Commission in light of changes to the Parliamentary timetable and any future Government decisions on those measures.

Importance of fund managers engaging with ASIC

ASIC has stated that it is mindful that fund managers may encounter difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that it is committed to working constructively and pragmatically with fund managers. ASIC Chair James Shipton said, “ASIC recognises that participants in the Australian financial services sector are under enormous strain due to the effects of COVID-19. We also acknowledge that they are taking special measures to support their customers who are adversely affected.

ASIC’s comments underline the importance of fund managers engaging with ASIC early if they are experiencing any difficulties.

Our Funds Management and Financial Services Team is well placed to assist you if you are experiencing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic or if you need to engage with ASIC. Please contact Brendan Ivers, Justin Gross or Jack Peterson for more information.

About Hamilton Locke

Hamilton Locke is one of Australia’s fastest growing law firms and now in the top 50 firms nationally. Over the past year the firm has grown 200%, from five to 16 partners, and from 13 to 50 lawyers and staff.

Hamilton Locke is a multi-award winning full service corporate and commercial law firm covering M&A, property, banking, restructuring, funds management and litigation. With talent from some of the top law firms globally, we believe in the relentless pursuit of success for our clients. That is why we have grown an organisation of energised people, propelled by class leading technology, who are freed up from bureaucracy and administration to really focus on doing what they do best – solving complex client problems.