In the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) latest report, Overview of decisions on relief applications (October 2019 to March 2020), the regulator outlines its moves to reduce red tape and “achieve a practical, positive outcome for companies seeking regulatory flexibility, without harming stakeholders”.
ASIC has powers to grant relief under the provisions of chapters two and three of the National Credit Act, which cover licensing and responsible lending, respectively.
According to the report, ASIC granted relief from provisions of the acts in relation to 619 applications during the report period.
ASIC approved 75 per cent of all credit relief applications it determined in the report period, and it did not refuse any applications. A quarter of all applications were withdrawn.
“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,” ASIC said.
“The reporting of ASIC’s decisions on relief applications aims to provide transparency about our decision making and to better inform businesses about the circumstances in which we grant relief.”
The report includes summaries of selected individual relief decisions, publications and legislative instruments that relate to COVID-19, which relate to disclosure, financial reporting, AGMs and registered office closure.
The report also provides examples of ASIC exercising or refusing to exercise its exemption and modification powers under the Corporations Act.
The regulator added: “ASIC will continue to take a facilitative approach, where appropriate, to the provision of individual and class relief to assist business in dealing with the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated containment measures,” the regulator said.
[Related: ASIC publishes product intervention guidance]
Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.