Unfair contract terms and the burden of knowledge…

On 28 May 2020, the first case on unfair contract terms for bank contracts was handed down by the Federal Court of Australia in Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited [2020] FCA 716 (ASIC v Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited). The court found certain clauses in the contract’s terms and […]

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ASIC’s guidance to mortgage brokers on their ‘best interests’ duty – time to act!

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has just released RG 273, which sets out its view on how mortgage brokers may comply with their ‘best interests’ obligations which commence in January 2021. The guidance follows the passing, on 6 February 2020, of the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response – Protecting Customers (2019 […]

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Litigation funders’ new regulatory requirements – practical Issues and the impact on class actions

Changing times The Federal Treasurer has announced that all litigation funders will soon be required to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL), which will dramatically increase the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) regulatory oversight over those funders who do not already hold an AFSL. The announcement follows the Federal Attorney General’s referral to […]

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COVID-19 | Electronic signing and virtual meetings: New temporary relief for companies a significant step on a longer journey

In a significant development for companies, the Treasurer has utilised his new power to modify the Corporations Act 2001, the Corporations Regulations 2001, the Insolvency Practice rules, and the Passport Rules so that, for a period of six months effective from 6 May 2020: entities can hold virtual meetings without the need for a physical location; […]

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The Impending General Prohibition of Hawking Financial Products and what this will mean for Financial Service Providers

The Federal Government is preparing to introduce the ‘Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response—Protecting Consumers (2020 Measures)) Bill 2020: Hawking of financial products‘ (the Bill) in response to the recommendations of the Hayne Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry that all hawking of insurance and superannuation products should […]

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COVID-19 | ‘Business days’ when business has changed

The ‘business day’ in a new light As at 29 March 2020, the Morrison Government had announced sweeping shutdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Pubs and gyms are among those deemed ‘non-essential’ businesses and required to shut down.  Businesses which do not fall under this qualification, including banks, remain open.  Australians are being advised […]

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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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COVID-19 | Regulatory wave needs to crash against COVID-19 wall

With the recent coronavirus pandemic, the current regulatory wave may see unique changes, with lawyers and GCs needing to prepare as uncertainty sweeps through businesses. It is no secret that the financial services industry entered this year riding a regulatory wave in the wake of the Hayne royal commission’s findings of widespread misconduct. There has […]

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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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Mortgagees and verifying mortgagors’ identities – a time of change

On 18 December 2019, the Australian Registrars National Electronic Conveyancing Council (ARNECC) released a consultation draft of version 6 of its Model Participation Rules. It pertains to Mortgagees’ “Verification of Identity” (VOI Draft) requirements when registering mortgage securities, which are separate to AML / CTF KYC requirements. The VOI Draft – which contains one very […]

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Mortgage Brokers – You could be up for $1.05M in fines from 1 July 2020

On 6 February 2020, the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response – Protecting Consumers (2019 Measures) Bill 2019 (Bill) passed in Parliament. The Bill gives effect to recommendations 4.7 and 4.2 of the Hayne Royal Commission by amending the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) (NCCP) and the National Consumer Credit Protection (Transitional […]

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BEAR (now FAR) – the extension of the Banking Executive Accountability Regime

On 4 February 2019, the Morrison Government announced it would implement recommendations 3.9, 4.12, 6.6, 6.7 and 6.8 of the Financial Services Royal Commission to extend the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) to all APRA-regulated entities e.g. banks, insurance and superannuation firms and provide joint administration to ASIC as the conduct regulator. On 22 January […]

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