Australian Regulatory Compliance Review has moved
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Preparing for 2010
Thank you for reading our news services over the past year. On behalf of the Langes+ team I wish you a happy, successful and healthy 2010.
If you are taking an extended break, we look forward to talking to you on your return.
Langes+ services will be available over the holiday season.
Predictions for 2010? The one thing I can predict for 2010 (apart from a Commonwealth election) is more demands on directors and managers and more regulatory change.
Over the next few weeks ask yourself what is your most pressing challenge (business, legal or otherwise) that you'd like to overcome in the next year and think about whether you are adequately prepared.
Government Response to the Productivity Commission Annual Review of Regulatory Burdens
The Federal Government has responded to the Productivity Commission report – Annual Review of Regulatory Burdens on Business: Social and Economic Infrastructure Services .
The Productivity Commission's concerns covered a wide range of regulated schemes and activities relating to the social and economic infrastructure sector, including: aged care; child care; information media and telecommunications; electricity, gas, water and waste services; transport; education and training; and medical services.
Of the Productivity Commission's 42 recommendations, the Government has accepted 21 and accepted a further 5 in principle. Of the remaining responses 12 were noted, mainly reflecting the Government’s existing reform agenda, while four responses were not accepted.
Simplified PDS's for superannuation and managed investment product disclosure
Treasury has released for public comment draft regulations and an example Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for superannuation and managed investment product disclosure prepared by the Financial Services Working Group (the Working Group).
Under the proposed regimes, Product Disclosure Statements (PDSs) will be limited to six A4 pages of key information presented in a clear and uncomplicated manner. These documents will be supported by more detailed or frequently updated information provided online so that businesses can enjoy greater flexibility without compromising investor protection.
The Working Group requests comments on the draft regulations and example PDSs by 26 February 2010.
Disclosure requirements for non-standard margin lending facilities
ASIC has released Consultation Paper 129 Non-standard margin lending facilities – improving disclosure for retail clients (CP 129) which sets out the key features and risks which ASIC proposes should be disclosed in a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).
A non-standard margin lending facility differs from a standard margin lending facility in that ownership of securities passes out of the investor’s hands. Ownership is transferred to the lender who then transfers consideration for the securities back to the investor, representing the ‘loan’ component of the facility. Products like this were offered by lenders such as Opes Prime Stockbroking Ltd and Tricom Equities Ltd up until 2008.
Under recent changes to the Corporations Act, margin lending will be regulated as a financial product and supervised by ASIC. ASIC’s proposed requirements for non-standard margin lending facilities supplement the Financial Services Working Group’s proposed requirements for shorter, simpler disclosure for standard margin loans.
Handling of confidential information by listed companies: ASIC guide
ASIC has released Consultation Paper Handling confidential information (CP 128) and the attached draft regulatory guide for discussion. The paper sets out a range of best practice guidelines for companies and their advisers who are in receipt of confidential, price-sensitive information.
ASIC’s goal in developing these best practice guidelines is to help parties ensure that confidential, price-sensitive information is provided to all the market in a timely manner, through the ASX announcements platform, rather than provided selectively to some participants at an incomplete stage.
Copenhagen Accord on climate change
We agree that deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science, and as documented by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report with a view to reduce global emissions so as to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, and take action to meet this objective consistent with science and on the basis of equity.
Draft AML/CTF Rules on the Register of Providers of Designated Remittance Services
Austrac has released draft rules which allow the AUSTRAC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to remove from or refuse to enter onto the Register of Providers of Designated Remittance Services, a person's name and registrable details, if the AUSTRAC CEO considers that those details would constitute an unacceptable money laundering or terrorism financing risk. They cover individuals, body corporates, trusts and partnerships and representatives of such persons.
A public consultation period is open from 18 December 2009 to 22 January 2010.
Westpac v ASIC: replacement unsolicited debit cards permitted
In Westpac Banking Corporation v Australian Securities & Investments Commission  FCA 1506 the Federal Court decided that by sending a Westpac Debit MasterCard card to 424,000 of its existing Handycard holders, Westpac had sent such cardholders the Debit MasterCard card in renewal or replacement of, or in substitution for, a card of the same kind previously sent to him or her, being the person’s Handycard, as permitted by section 12DL of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth).
Interestingly NAB recently agreed with ASIC to deactivate American Express credit cards sent unsolicited as ‘companion’ cards to NAB Qantas Gold account customers.
Cooper Superannuation System Review Preliminary Report
It has also published a new Issues Paper on the structure of superannuation funds.