Industry

ASIC seeking to enhance banning power

The ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce (Taskforce) is seeking to enhance ASIC’s banning powers, to ensure ASIC can take action to ban senior managers from managing financial services business. The Taskforce has made two key recommendations to increase the banning powers. 1. Whilst ASIC currently has the power to ban a person from providing financial services, the Taskforce has recommended the powers be broadened to allow ASIC to ban a person from: Performing a specific function …

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ASIC consults on add-on insurance reforms

ASIC is seeking feedback on proposals to reform the sale of add-on insurance through car dealerships. Consultation Paper 294 sets out ASIC’s approach and proposed reforms in detail. The reforms would see the introduction of: A deferred sales model ASIC proposes to introduce a deferred sales model which would insert a pause in the sales process for add-on insurance products. The proposal is that a period of between 4 to 30 days must elapse before …

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Enforcement report confirms ASIC’s focus for remainder of 2017

On 22 August 2017, ASIC released a report regarding its enforcement outcomes from the first half of 2017. The report also flags what the focus of ASIC’s enforcement activity will be over the next six months (1 July to 31 December 2017). Consumer credit continues to be a key focus for ASIC, as do obligations of Australian financial services (AFS) licensees. In the first half of 2017 the majority (59%) of ASIC enforcement in relation …

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CCI sales process to be overhauled

ASIC has recently announced the establishment of a Consumer Credit Insurance (CCI) Working Group, who have been tasked with improving outcomes for CCI customers. The CCI Working Group will progress a range of reforms. A key reform will be the introduction of a deferred-sales model for CCI sold with credit cards over the phone and in branches. This means that banks will be prohibited from selling a CCI policy until at least four days after …

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Section 6 – farewell (and good riddance!)

In December 2016 we posted on the NSW Law Reform Commission’s recommendation to replace section 6 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1946 (NSW).  Six months later, we can now confirm that section 6 is (finally) dead and herald the new era of the Civil Liability (Third Party Claims Against Insurers) Act 2017 (NSW) (Act).  The new Act is now live (from 1 June 2017) and is a welcome clarification of the confusion and …

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Call for extension of conflicted remuneration ban

The ban on conflicted remuneration should extend to the general insurance industry and to all life policies, regardless of whether the policy was obtained through the superannuation system or not, according to Industry Super Australia (ISA) and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST). In May this year the Government sought stakeholder submissions on the five measures enacted in 2013 as part of the Future of Finance Advice (FoFA) reforms. One of these reforms was the …

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ASIC sets commission caps and clawback amounts for life insurance

In February this year the Corporations Amendment (Life Insurance Remuneration Arrangements) Act 2017 (the Act) was passed by Parliament, followed by the associated regulations. Our updates on these can be found here and here. The Act removed the exemption from the ban on conflicted remuneration for commissions paid in relation to certain life insurance products. The Act also enabled the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to allow commissions to be paid if requirements around …

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Life insurance remuneration regulations passed

Following on from our previous update regarding the new life insurance remuneration arrangements, the Corporations Amendment (Life Insurance Remuneration Arrangements) Regulations 2017 (Regulations) have now been passed. The Regulations will take effect from 1 January 2018, the same date as the Corporations Amendment (Life Insurance Remuneration Arrangements) Act 2017 (Act). The Act removed the exemption for life risk insurance products whereby a benefit is not conflicted remuneration if no financial advice in relation to the product …

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ASIC Report into financial advisers

As part of its Wealth Management Project, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released its report into how effectively Australia’s largest financial institutions oversee their financial advisers. The report is based on a 20-month project instigated by information received by ASIC about non-compliant advice, as well as public concerns about wider problems in large advice firms. The full report is structured in three key phases and can be accessed here. Phase 1: How the …

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Senate Inquiry into ‘non-confirming’ building products is wrapping up

On 23 June 2015, the Senate commenced a wide-ranging an inquiry into the use of ‘non-conforming’ building products (being products and materials that do not meet required standards). The inquiry was launched following a 2014 fire in a Victorian apartment complex involving the use of aluminium composite panelling. The due date for reporting has been extended several times, and the report is now due to be released on 25 May 2017. The long awaited and …

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The Victorian Building Authority fires up for further audits

Following the Lacrosse fire in Melbourne’s Docklands in late 2014, the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) conducted an audit of non-compliant wall cladding systems of high rise buildings in inner city Melbourne. By way of background, the Lacrosse building was clad in aluminium composite panelling, and it is alleged that the panelling (with a combustible core) contributed to the fire’s dramatic spread up the exterior façade of the building, causing significant property damage. The VBA’s audit …

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Bill on conflicted remuneration for life insurance passed

The Corporations Amendment (Life Insurance Remuneration Arrangements) Bill 2016 (Bill) has passed both Houses and will take effect from 1 January 2018. After originally lapsing in April 2016, the Bill was reintroduced late last year with minor changes. The Bill will have a significant impact on life insurance brokers and represents the government’s response to a number of investigations into the life insurance industry. Change to exemption against conflicted remuneration ban The Bill amends the …

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The world catches up to securities class actions

Many (especially European) jurisdictions eschew the term ‘class actions’, preferring the more genteel descriptors ‘collective investor action’ or ‘collective redress’. Despite the different terminology, the statistics show that the globalisation of securities class actions is taking hold and the trend is set to increase. This trend will have wide ranging implications on the future of D&O claims internationally, according to leading US commentator Kevin LaCroix (of the D&O Diary fame), who spoke at DLA Piper’s …

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Senate Signs off on Financial Adviser Reforms – Changes to Claim Volume/Risk Profile Ahead?

Last Week the Senate passed the Corporations Amendment (Professional Standards of Financial Advisers) Bill 2016 and paved the way for wide ranging reforms (and increased compliance obligations) in the financial advisory industry. The new regime starts on 1 January 2019 and includes the following reforms: – Compulsory education requirements for both new and existing financial advisers. – Supervision requirements for new advisers. – A code of ethics for the industry to apply from 1 January …

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ASIC reveals ‘hot spots’ for the insurance industry in 2017

Last week Greg Medcraft, the chairperson of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), delivered a speech to the Insurance Council of Australia Annual Forum on the current insurance environment and ASIC’s priorities for the coming year. Current environment The speech commenced by noting that 2016 was an eventful year for the insurance industry. In particular, Medcraft noted the impact of technology and social media and the impact that technology is having on consumer empowerment. …

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