RegTracker 23 August 2022

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By Mark Bland, Partner, Stephen Putnins, Partner, Matthew Farnsworth, Partner, Geoffrey McCarthy, Special Counsel, Sheridan Handley, Senior Associate, Vijay Adithya, Lawyer, Amiinah Dulull, Lawyer and Sam Morris, Consultant

Key developments

ASIC’s Corporate Plan 2022 – 2026 demonstrates a continuing focus on enforcement and a major focus on superannuation and retirement advice.  Specific areas of focus continue on the retirement incomes covenant, internal dispute resolution, breach reporting, climate related disclosures and design and distribution obligations.

APRA’s discussion paper on SPS 515 marks a further significant step to enforce rigour in outcomes assessment with a focus on measurability.  It will be likely to drive continuous improvement for some and more pressure for underperformers.

Similar themes appear in APRA’s commentary on its climate risk assessment survey noting an area for improvement is metrics and targets. While many institutions indicated that they measure and monitor climate risks using quantitative or qualitative approaches and set targets, use of more advanced quantitative risk metrics, such as forward-looking exposure to physical and transition risk, was limited.

ASIC’s recognition of the implementation problems of the breach reporting regime and indication that it will not be naming those in breach would be welcomed.  It is hoped that moves for adjustments to avoid the need to report minor breaches ensues.

This Month

01 August – APRA released a discussion paper on strategic planning and member outcomes- proposed enhancements of SPS 515.

02 AugustASIC places stop order on PDS and advertisements for Fawkner Property Ltd Fund.

02 – 04 AugustParliamentary Sitting for both Houses took place and also the date of the Senate 2/3 cut-off.

03 August – The Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 Measures No.1) Bill 2022 was introduced in the Senate proposing amendments to facilitate transitional arrangement regarding AFCA replacing Superannuation Complaints Tribunal.

03 August – The Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 Measures No. 2) Bill 2022 was introduced changing the age limit for downsizer contributions to 55.

03 August – Margaret Cole’s speech to the Financial Services Council Policy Briefing was published.

03 August – ASIC updated RG 263: Financial Services and Credit Panel (FSCP) and published INFO 273 FSCP decisions: Your rights.

03 August – ASX announced that its CHESS replacement system is facing further delay and also, that it has appointed Accenture to provide an independent review of the new CHESS application.

04 August – APRA published its latest climate risk self-assessment survey findings.

05 August – The Minister stated in a speech to AIST that Treasury will consider if the word “financial” in the best financial interests duty affects ESG decisions.

08 August – APRA published its updated Corporate Plan for 2022-2023.

08 August – The Government commenced a review of ASIC’s Industry Funding Model and has issued a Terms of Reference to guide the review.

08 AugustRegulations were registered to defer the application date of the annual performance test to trustee-directed products for 12 months to 1 July 2023.

09 August – ASIC published an article about greenwashing for superannuation and investment management.

09 August – The Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 Measures No.1) Act 2022 received Royal Assent.

09 August – The RBA published a media release announcing that it is collaboration with the Digital Finance Cooperative Research Centre (DFCRC) on a research project to explore use cases for a central bank digital currency in Australia.

10 August – The Family Court Amendment Bill 2022 (WA) was introduced to the Legislative Council. The Bill will allow the Family Court of Western Australia to split superannuation interests when de facto couples separate.

10 August – ASIC published a media release announcing that its surveillance of IDR in superannuation has indicated significant compliance issues.

10 August – ASIC published a media release announcing that as part of its 2022-23 priorities, it will focus on improving the operation of the reportable situations regime.

10 August – The Government announced an upcoming consultation on financial adviser professional standards.

10 August – ASIC released Report 735: Retail investor research. Report 735 captures the findings of the survey conducted by ASIC in relation to the motivations, attitudes and behaviours of retail investors.

15 August – The Australian National Audit Office published an independent performance audit report on the effectiveness of the Australian Taxation Office’s engagement with tax practitioners in achieving efficient and effective taxation and superannuation systems.

16 August – Faith based products Performance Assessment Consultation by Treasury closed.

17 August – APRA published a joint address with ASIC on the retirement income covenant.

17 August – Australia joined the Global Cross-Border Privacy Rules Forum, a multilateral initiative which aims to better facilitate the flow of data across borders.

18 August – Family Court Amendment Bill 2022 passed through WA Parliament allowing separating de facto couples in WA to split their superannuation.

18 August – Between the 18 August and 25 August, the Government is seeking stakeholder views on the exposure draft legislation: Treasury Laws Amendment (Competition and Consumer Reforms No.1) Bill 2022: More competition, better prices.

19 August – The ATO published information on how to avoid common errors in MAAS and MATS reporting and released terms and conditions for users relating to MAAS.

22 August – The Government published a joint media release on the work underway for crypto asset reforms.

22 August – ASIC released its Corporate Plan for 2022-26, outlining its strategic priorities for the next four years and its plan of action for the year ahead.

22 August – The Financial Services Minister announced that he expects to issue a discussion paper in 2023 on the issue of mergers and size of funds.

22 August – The ATO released its Corporate Plan for 2022-23, identifying 7 key focus areas that are strategically important for the ATO and 19 core priorities that are crucial to its vision of being a leading tax, superannuation and registry administration.

23 August – APRA has released its Quarterly Superannuation Performance publication for the June 2022 quarter.

23 August – ASIC Chair Joseph Longo delivered a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

23 August – Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers addressed the annual Superannuation Lending Roundtable hosted by AFR in Sydney.

Upcoming

31 August – End of period in which APRA must make the Annual Performance Assessment determination for 2022 and notify trustees (under draft Regs).

31 August – Trustee that receive a 2nd consecutive fail on its Annual Performance Assessment cannot accept new members after this date.

September – APRA’s first round of publications for their new series of superannuation data comprising of new and expanded data on an industry, fund and product basis are due.

2 September- Consultation feedback for consultation on draft guidance notes for the Payment Times Reporting Scheme is due.

5 – 8 September- Parliamentary Sitting for both Houses.

12 – 15 September- Parliamentary Sitting for both Houses.

30 September- Interim Report 2 focusing on regulatory design and the hierarchy of primary law provisions, regulations, class orders and standards are due.

30 September- ASIC Corporations (Disclosure Fees and Costs) Instrument 2019/1070 (new RG97) applies to all PDS given on or after this date.

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