ASIC reports on decisions to cut red tape

ASIC’s latest report, Overview of decisions on relief applications (Oct 2018 to March 2019), outlines decisions on relief applications and highlights ASIC’s efforts to reduce red-tape and achieve a practical, positive outcome for companies seeking regulatory flexibility, without harming stakeholders.

During the period, ASIC granted relief from provisions of the Corporations Act or the National Credit Act in relation to 709 applications. The granting of relief, which has a net regulatory benefit, or which facilitates business or cuts red tape is an important part of ASIC’s regulatory function. The reporting of the regulator’s decisions on relief applications aims to provide transparency about their decision making and to better inform businesses about the circumstances in which they grant relief.

The report also provides examples where ASIC has exercised, or refused to exercise, its exemption and modification powers under the Corporations Act and the licensing and responsible lending provisions of the National Credit Act.

ASIC can modify or set aside certain provisions of the Corporations Act, including Chapters 2D (officers and employees), 2G (meetings), 2M (financial reporting and audit), 5C (managed investment schemes), 6 (takeovers), 6D (fundraising) and 7 (financial services).

ASIC also has powers to grant relief under the provisions of Chapters 2 (licensing) and 3 (responsible lending) of the National Credit Act and from all or specified provisions of the National Credit Code, which is in Sch 1 to the National Credit Act.

In limited situations, ASIC may also consider providing a no‑action letter when instances of non‑compliance with certain statutory provisions have been brought to ASIC’s attention.

Applications for relief can be submitted electronically to applications@asic.gov.au. They must be in writing and should address the requirements set out in Regulatory Guide 51 Applications for relief(RG 51) (and any other regulatory guides relevant to the application).