Australia equity financing

Financial Services Regulation and Compliance

The Australian financial services landscape has evolved significantly in the years since the repercussions of the 2018 Hayne Royal Commission swept through the industry. While enduring issues such as misconduct involving significant harms to consumers and damage to market integrity remain a key focus of regulators, new threats in the form of greenwashing, cyber security, crypto scams and AI have emerged.

Our national Financial Services Regulatory team at Gadens strives to facilitate and fully service our clients in their complex matters as they navigate the developments (and subsequent challenges) in the regulated financial services sphere.

Our services and experience

The Gadens’ team has extensive knowledge and capability in all areas of financial services regulation. Together with broader experiences in complementary areas such as banking, competition, tax, corporate and commercial, and digital and data laws, this enhances our front and back-end expertise. Our services include:

Licensing matters
  • Advising on AFSL and ACL requirements, exemptions and regulatory compliance across the full spectrum of:
  • financial products, eg securities, interests in managed investment schemes (MIS), non-cash payment products, derivatives and carbon credits; and
  • financial services, eg financial product advice, dealing and custody services.
  • Preparing applications and variations of AFSLs and ACLs.
  • Preparing ASIC relief applications.
Payment systems
  • Advising on the regulation, licensing and contractual arrangements of payment service providers, including those who store value and provide payment facilitation services.
Digital assets
  • Advising on the regulation of digital assets such as stablecoins and NFT products, and their providers and intermediaries, such as digital currency exchanges.
Funds management
  • Structuring establishing and restructuring retail and wholesale MIS (eg real property, mortgage, venture capital/private equity funds).
  • Advising on ongoing regulatory and compliance matters for established funds.
Disclosure for financial products
  • Preparing, reviewing and verifying disclosure documents (eg information memoranda, product disclosure statements (PDS) and financial service guides (FSGs)) and related marketing collateral.
  • Advising on design and distribution obligations (DDO) and reviewing target market determinations (TMDs).
  • Advising on the anti-hawking regime.
General regulatory compliance
  • Advising on all general regulatory compliance, including under Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) (NCCP Act).
  • Advising on the breach reporting regime for financial and credit products.
  • Developing obligation registers.
  • Advising on unfair contract terms (UCT) regime.
Anti-Money Laundering / Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF)
  • Advising on compliance and breaches of AML/CTF laws.
  • Preparing AML/CTF programs.
  • Undertaking independent reviews of Part A AML/CTF programs (for low ML/TF risk entities).
  • Providing ML/TF risk awareness training.
Executive accountability regimes
  • Advising on the Financial Accountability Regime (FAR) and the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR).
  • Advising on APRA CPS 511 compliance.
Contentious regulatory engagement
  • Acting for entities the subject of regulatory investigations for breaches of the Corporations Act and the NCCP Act.
  • Acting for individuals the subject of white-collar crime prosecutions, including insider dealing and proceeds of crime proceedings.
  • Assisting in responding to the use of compulsory powers to produce documents and attendance at ASIC interviews.
  • Corresponding with regulators and other authorities such as ASIC, APRA, AUSTRAC, RBA, AFCA, ACCC and OAIC.
  • Appearing in administrative hearings before ASIC and appeals before the AAT.
  • Advising on whistle-blowing situations.
Digital and data privacy regulatory, including CDR
  • Advising on the regulatory compliance challenges impacting the end-to-end data transformation journey from creation to divestment for financial services entities and adjacent organisations, including under the Privacy Act and APPs, Security of Critical Infrastructure Act and APRA Prudential Standards.
  • Advising on privacy policies, compliance frameworks and programs, including on collection, use and disclosure of personal information and cross-border transfers.
  • Developing and advising on security and data breach procedures and policies, including under the Notifiable Data Breach Regime.
  • Advising on the implementation, roll-out and compliance obligations under the Consumer Data Right (CDR) regime for data holders, ADRs, intermediaries and other applicable parties.
  • Advising on laws, standards, codes and/or rules and government policy applicable to new and emerging technology solutions, including the use of blockchain to enable digital assets, artificial intelligence and machine-learning.

Staying at the forefront of the industry

The legal industry has struggled to keep pace with technological developments and advancements in the financial services industry. For example, technology has changed the way we pay for products with the rise of digital assets. Gadens’ team is heavily immersed in this rapidly evolving area, including by advocating for Treasury’s proposed amendments for the regulation of digital assets/token mapping, payment systems reform, and the CDR. We collaborate with both industry and academic professionals to ensure the Australian financial services industry remains an efficient but ethical sector.

We also publish a fortnightly Regulatory Recap which highlights recent developments from ASIC, APRA, AFCA, OAIC, ACCC, RBA, AUSTRAC and Treasury, including various enforcement actions taken by the regulators. You can subscribe to this publication and our Financial Services Regulation updates here.

Working with Regulators

Our team’s expertise involves working collaboratively with, and we maintain on-going relationships with, key regulators and licensing bodies, including ASIC, APRA, AUSTRAC, RBA, AFCA, ACCC and OAIC.

Working with you

Our broad client base consists of leading national banks, general insurers, superannuation trustees, funds managers and fintechs. We are specialists who commit to providing our clients with solutions to their most complicated and sensitive regulatory issues.

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