The expansion of statutory unconscionable conduct risk in commercial transactions

Where a statute proscribes unconscionable conduct in business, a company can be liable whether or not the person to whom the allegedly unconscionable conduct is directed is vulnerable or at a special disadvantage. In ACCC v Quantum Housing Group Pty Ltd, handed down on 19 March 2021, the Full Federal Court placed the focus in […]

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ASIC’s new approach to regulatory investigations: the challenges and opportunities presented by Express Investigations

Under the banner of ‘when pilots become enduring practice’, ASIC Deputy Chair Karen Chester has announced that ASIC will supplement its traditional investigations processes with ‘Express Investigations’ (EI), ASIC’s new and preferred approach to enforcement. Corporate regulatory investigations are often legally and factually complex, high-stakes and process-heavy. Mountains of documents and witness evidence are commonplace. […]

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Doing Business in Australia

The revised 2020 edition of Gadens’ Doing Business in Australia guide provides foreign investors with an overview of the Australian business, economic and regulatory environment, and practical advice on how to go about setting up and doing business in Australia. The Australian Government welcomes foreign investment. With well-developed infrastructure, a stable political environment, a robust, […]

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Simplifying access to credit – a win for lenders!

As Australia continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Morrison Government announced proposed changes to access credit. The proposed changes, outlined in the article below, seek to simplify the system between consumers and lenders, making access to credit easier for consumers and small businesses. Read the full article below.   Our Banking & Finance team […]

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Conflicted remuneration – mortgage brokers’ tricky year ahead

The Federal Treasury has released the long-awaited regulations which will govern mortgage broker remuneration from 1 January 2021, the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response—Protecting Consumers) (Mortgage Brokers) Regulations 2020 (Regulations). It follows the release of the draft regulations and explanatory statement in August 2019. The Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response – […]

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Worth the paper they are written on – the importance of independent advice certificates in financing transactions

Socrates famously said “to find yourself, think for yourself.” The Victorian Court of Appeal recently disagreed and reasserted the ability of lenders to rely on independent legal and financial advice certificates without making further inquiries of their own. Jams 2 Pty Ltd v Stubbings [2020] VSCA 200 involved “asset-based lending”, lending on the value of […]

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COVID-19 | ASIC publishes expectations of retail lenders when loan repayment deferrals end

On 13 August 2020, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) issued letters to lenders, notifying them of ASIC’s expectations once the mortgage deferral period expires next month. Lenders had offered the six month mortgage repayment deferral period to their customers, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which debt is estimated to be worth billions […]

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COVID-19 | The Banking Code of Practice – COVID-19: Special Note

In these uncertain times, the financial services industry is experiencing unprecedented levels of customer queries and financial hardship requests. As a result of the high volume of customers in distressed circumstances, on 25 June 2020 ASIC approved temporary changes to the Banking Code of Practice (the Code) so that Banks can continue to provide suitable […]

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COVID-19 | Verification of identity – the need to go digital

All of the states (but not the territories) require mortgagees to undertake reasonable steps to verify the identities of mortgagors, commonly through a framework called the “Verification of Identity Standard” (VOI Standard) undertaken by specialised “Identity Agents” e.g. lawyers or other agents with professional indemnity insurance. Where they do not, and the mortgage instrument is […]

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Responsible lending – updated guidance and practical considerations

Lenders’ responsible lending obligations have been a fluid topic in the wake of the Hayne Royal Commission’s final report in February 2019. In that report, Commissioner Hayne said that he was ultimately not persuaded that the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) (NCCP) needed to change in that aspect. His view was that the […]

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Red card for borrower claiming application fee as penalty

With the recent lending slowdown in the Australian banking sector, lead by the Banking Royal Commission, tougher lending standards and tighter serviceability requirements, demand for alternative non-bank lenders continues to increase. It is common for a non-bank lender’s lending terms to include an up-front arrangement or origination fee in respect of the establishment of the […]

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Seven Year Hitch – PPSR turns 7 years old

On 30 January 2012 the “Personal Property Securities Register” (PPSR) commenced operations. The PPSR is an electronic register of security interests which was established under section 147 of the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth) (PPSA). This commencement date of 30 January 2012 means that on 30 January 2019 the PPSR turned seven years old. […]

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