Financial Servcies Law2019-12-12T06:37:48+11:00

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Whether you need to vary an existing financial services licence or are in the process of applying for a new licence or just want some advice we can assist you. Our lawyers are experienced in financial services law and can offer you a fixed fee quote to give cost certainty for when you work with us.

What we can assist you with:

  • Australian financial services licence applications
  • ASIC investigations
  • Banking disputes
  • Loan and security documentation
  • Consumer credit regulation advice
  • Australian credit licence applications

Before making an application for an AFS licence you need to decide what licence authorisations to you want to include.
Choosing licence authorisations is one of the most important steps in applying for an AFS licence.

Your authorisations affect:

  • the financial services you can provide under your AFS licence and any financial products those services may relate to
  • the obligations you will have as an AFS licensee; and
  • whether you can use certain restricted terms (e.g. ‘stockbroker’, ‘insurance broker’).

If your business changes you can always apply to vary your AFS licence to include additional authorisations.

ASIC assesses applications for AFS licences as part of its role as regulator of the financial services industry. In assessing an AFS licence application, ASIC will consider whether you:

  • are competent to carry on the kind of financial services business you are applying for
  • have sufficient financial resources to carry on the business you are proposing unless you’re regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)
  • have adequate risk management systems unless you’re a body regulated by APRA. However, if you are an RSE licensee authorised to operate registered managed investment schemes, and the risk does not relate solely to your operation of a regulated superannuation fund, you must comply with s912A(1)(h); and
  • can meet your other obligations as an AFS licensee if we grant you a licence.

The information in your application must be correct and complete, and your core proofs must be lodged promptly after submitting the application.
If your application does not meet the requirements it could be returned to you or refused, or there could be substantial delays while further information is sought from you.

If your business changes or you want to cover more financial services or products, you will need to vary your AFS licence. To vary your licence, you need to complete and lodge a request to vary with ASIC. If you are planning on changing your business, products or services to make sure that your application is assessed as quickly as possible it is important that the information you supply to ASIC is correct and complete. If your application does not meet the requirements it could be returned, refused or there could be substantial delays.

An advantage of already holding an AFS licence is you don’t need to apply for another one – you just add to the one you have. The disadvantage of varying your licence is that it is very similar to, and almost as onerous as, applying for a new licence. However, when varying an AFS licence you don’t need to provide as many supporting documents as with the original application.

Before applying to vary your AFS licence you’ll most likely need to appoint another Responsible Manager who has the requisite competence to oversee the provision of the new financial services that you’re planning to undertake.

Under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) an AFS licence is required where an entity carries on a business involving the provision of a financial service and/or a financial product.

Financial services are defined in the Act as:

  • Providing financial product advice (personal and/or general);
  • Dealing in financial products (includes issuing and/or arranging);
  • Making a market in financial products;
  • Operate a registered scheme;
  • Providing a custodial or depository service.

Financial products are defined as an instrument used to:

  • Manage a risk
  • Make an investment
  • Make a non-cash payment

Classes of financial products are also defined and include:

  • Basic deposit and payment products (including cash and non-cash)
  • Securities
  • Foreign exchange
  • Insurance (including life and general insurance)
  • Managed Investment Schemes (retail/wholesale, registered/unregistered)
  • Derivatives
  • Superannuation
  • Government bonds
  • Margin lending facilities
  • Retirement Saving Accounts

An entity may apply to be authorised to provide one or more type of financial services, and/or provide one or more financial product class to retail and/or wholesale clients. Having an AFS licence authorises you and your representatives to provide financial services to clients. Depending on your circumstances, you may fall into the category where you are exempt from the requirement to hold an AFS licence or you may provide financial services under a limited AFS licence. Alternatively, you can also choose to provide financial services as an authorised representative of an AFS licensee.

If you believe that you should be exempt from requirements under the Act or relieved from obtaining an AFS licence, for instance you are subject to another jurisdiction or regulatory body that requires you to meet obligations that overlap, you may be eligible for relief. The onus is on the entity to show why relief should be granted. ASIC may refuse an application that does not address all relevant issues, therefore, the application process is extremely important.


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