ASIC has released its latest report outlining decisions on relief applications, highlighting ASIC’s efforts to reduce red-tape and achieve a practical, positive outcome for companies seeking some regulatory flexibility.
These reports aim to provide transparency about our decision making and to better inform businesses about the circumstances in which we grant relief.
Report 556 Overview of decisions on relief applications (April 2017 to September 2017) (REP 556) notes that between 1 April 2017 and 30 September 2017, ASIC granted relief from provisions of the Corporations Act or the National Credit Act in relation to 440 applications, which were assessed as facilitating business or cutting red tape without harming stakeholders.
To further assist businesses, REP 556 discusses various publications and guidance released by ASIC during the six months that may be relevant to prospective applicants for relief.
It also summarises examples of situations 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.
The report also highlights circumstances where ASIC has considered adopting a no‑action position regarding specified non‑compliance with statutory provisions.
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. A no‑action letter states to a particular person that ASIC does not intend to take regulatory action over a particular state of affairs or particular conduct. The factors that ASIC will consider when dealing with a request for a no‑action letter are set out in Regulatory Guide 108 No‑action letters (RG 108).