Insight #49 – Fund managers and other financial service providers take heed: ASIC Enforcement Report and Corporate Plan

By Warwick Heeson (Lawyer) Oppenheim Legal        

Fund managers and other financial services providers need to take a renewed approach to their service and product offerings in order to avoid the regulators attention in light of ASIC’s latest enforcement outcomes and its Corporate Plan 2015/2016 to 2018/2019. Currently, there are a total of 43 civil and 19 criminal cases before the Courts. Enforcement action is predominately for breaches of financial services law which include dishonest conduct, misleading statements and unlicensed conduct.

ASIC report 476: Enforcement outcomes July to December 2015, provides useful intelligence for fund managers on which areas of financial services law ASIC are targeting. Importantly, results of the report suggest breaches of financial services law have been particularly active for the period 1 July 2015 to 31 December, 2015. Results for ASIC during the period were 4 enforceable undertakings 67 remedies with 12 civil and 3 criminal convictions. 

ASIC’s current enforcement actions is in line with the ASIC Corporate Plan. The Corporate Plan provides further intelligence for fund managers on the direction of enforcement by the regulator. The thrust of the plan is a renewed focus on responsible entities, company directors and financial market participants. 

ASIC’s Corporate Plan details 6 areas of focus on financial services providers:

  1. the quality of advice and product offerings concerning retirement savings. In particular, inappropriate financial products, services and advice;
  2. how the financial services provider deals with clients who have suffered a loss as a result of poor advice;
  3. products characterised by financial innovation and engineering;
  4. whether the financial services provider fulfils their disclosure obligations; and
  5. importantly, corporate governance matters concerning related party transactions, inadequate company disclosures and financial reporting.

These developments highlight the importance for fund managers to hold the appropriate authorisations for their financial services business, ensure all marketing materials are up to date and are not considered misleading and your financial advisers and representatives know their obligations.

If you have any questions or require any information regarding your regulatory obligations please contact Warwick Heeson on 02 9227 8950 or email wheeson@oppenheimlegal.com.au

About Gateway

Gateway Financial Marketing (Gateway) was established in February 2004 by Amanda Rethus and Edwina Best for the purpose of offering fund managers, other product providers and international new entrants, expert advice, services and assistance in negotiating entry into the Australian Retail Financial Services market. Use of Gateway’s services provides the opportunity for clients to overcome the hurdles that can often confront fund managers when transitioning from institutional to retail and hence improve participation in retail funds flow. Prior to Gateway, Amanda and Edwina spent over 30 years combined with major institutions in the financial services market.

Our qualifications

Amanda has over 20 years’ experience in the Financial Services industry and was formerly a Divisional Director in the Financial Services Group of Macquarie. Amanda managed investment portfolios for over 10 years, and has spent in excess of 10 years introducing investment products to the Australian Retail market.

Edwina has a Bachelor of Business from UTS majoring in Marketing and International Business. She has over 15 years’ experience in the financial services market, concentrating in relationship management, product management and marketing. They both have extensive contacts in the retail financial services market especially with key decision makers. If you would like to confidentially discuss your current approach to the Australian market or have any questions on the above please do not hesitate to contact us on – Edwina 0404 046 179 or Amanda or 0414 658 323.

Disclaimer

This information speaks only as of the date it is given and the views expressed are subject to change, due to factors such as market and industry conditions. There is no obligation to update the information in this article. The information, whether taken from public sources or elsewhere, has not been verified and we have relied upon and assumed without independent verification, the accuracy and completeness of the information.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, none of Gateway Financial Marketing Pty Ltd, its affiliates, or any officer, accepts any liability for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this article or its contents.

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