ASIC re-plans its regulatory work because of COVID

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had foreshadowed that it will make changes to its regulatory work and priorities to allow it to focus on the impact of COVID-19, stating that part of this effort will see it defer some activities and redeploy staff to address the issues of immediate concern, but at the same time maintain the integrity of markets and protect vulnerable consumers.

ASIC has now provided an update on the particulars of many of the affected activities, saying it has delayed a number of efforts not immediately necessary in light of these significantly changed circumstances, including consultations, regulatory reports and reviews.

Detailed information can be found here, with sections covering financial advice, managed funds, insurance, insolvency, corporations, financial reporting and more.

Regarding superannuation matters, in summary, the following points are relevant:

  • ASIC is providing a temporary no-action letter to trustees providing personal advice to members about early access to super under specified conditions.
  • It will defer the first reporting date for portfolio holding disclosures, recognising that current conditions may make it difficult for trustees to prioritise the development of appropriate disclosures.
  • It is not intending to defer the requirement to hold annual member meetings for funds or provide other relevant relief, however it will closely monitor conditions and revisit this issue if appropriate.
  • ASIC anticipates publishing a report by December on insurance in superannuation and improving insurance outcomes for consumers.
  • It is deferring public communication of the industry-level findings on trustee oversight of advice fee deductions for six months.
  • ASIC is continuing to monitor compliance with changes to fees and costs disclosure for superannuation and can still take action where it identifies non-compliance with the current regime. It is however deferring its review to align with the timing of the implementation of the revised fees and costs disclosure requirements.
  • It will amend the transitional arrangements for PDSs to allow entities to come into the new disclosure regime for fees and costs from 30 September 2020 and will require any PDS given on or after 30 September 2022 to comply with the new disclosure regime. There will be no change to the periodic statement transition arrangements.
  • ASIC will continue to develop its proposals on fees and costs disclosure for platforms. However, it is deferring the public consultation paper until further notice.
[]