The BEAR Necessities: Understanding the Proposed Banking Executive Accountability Regime

In response to the Coleman Report on Australia’s four large banks (see here for a summary), the 2017 Federal Budget included a proposed Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) to be administered by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). Treasury released a consultation paper on the BEAR on 13 July 2017 (the Paper) and has been …

What’s happening with crowdfunding

Starts soon Equity crowdfunding will finally begin in Australia from 29 September 2017. When we last reviewed crowdfunding a year ago, Australia’s efforts to introduce crowdfunding laws had been stalled by the 2016 election. After the election, the proposed legislation was brought back and passed through the Parliament in March 2017. Even before the …

Financial Services and Credit Quarterly Update July 2017

Our latest Financial Services and Credit Quarterly Update for the second quarter of 2017 can be downloaded here. In the last three months there have been a number of important announcements in the Federal Budget affecting the financial services sector. These include: the new big bank levy, which is also …

How to get ready for Notifiable Data Breaches

On 29 January 2015, Anthem Inc, one of the largest health benefits companies in the United States, discovered that cyber attackers had gained access to its IT system. The hackers stole personal information relating to Anthem customers and other independent health plans that work with Anthem. It is reported that …

Covenant light: the new look for small business loan contracts

Last year we asked if small business lending could end up like consumer lending. Well, it is certainly heading that way. There are some important recent developments that will fundamentally change small business loan contracts. Obligations normally imposed by lenders are being dialled back or removed for small business borrowers. …

Banks in the firing line: Government adopts Coleman Report recommendations

The 2017 Budget has a whole bunch of measures to regulate and tax the banking and financial sector. Altogether they are (in the words of the Treasurer) nothing less than “an overhaul of financial system.” A summary of the banking and financial services reforms announced in the Budget can be …

Self-reporting of significant breaches for credit licensees proposed

Australian credit licence (ACL) holders will have to self-report significant actual or likely breaches of their licence obligations if a proposal by the taskforce conducting a Review of ASIC Enforcement (Taskforce) is adopted. One of the responsibilities of the Taskforce is to look at the adequacy of the framework for …

4 reasons why you should now consider a responsible lending compliance review

North Sydney business lawyers

Credit assessment is no longer just about managing credit risk: it’s also a compliance obligation. Responsible lending under the credit legislation requires credit licensees to: make reasonable inquiries about the consumer’s requirements and objectives and financial situation; take reasonable steps to verify the consumer’s financial situation; make an assessment whether …

Metadata: what’s it all about?

Can metadata be personal information protected by Australia’s Privacy Act? A recent case considered this question. Defining metadata Before looking at the case, we should define what we mean by “metadata”. Let’s use an example of a client file that a professional adviser would hold for a client. Inside the …

Regtech rising

Fintech lawyers sydney

No doubt you’ve heard about fintech, but what about “regtech”? Fintech is about using technology to provide financial services. Regtech is about using technology to comply with regulation. Regtech is not limited to the financial services sector, but that’s where it is growing, for two reasons I think. There is …

Sandbox or sandtrap?

Like many occupations and professions today, you must get a licence to carry on a financial services or consumer credit business, unless you’re lucky enough to fit within an exemption. It’s not easy to get a financial services or credit licence. But until you get one, you can’t really test …

“Worth the Whistle”​ – Australia to shake-up whistleblower laws

Whistleblower laws in Australia have been the subject of recent media and parliamentary scrutiny, with calls for greater protections for those who disclose wrongdoing. As part of an agreement with Senator Nick Xenophon to get its industrial relations reforms through the Senate in November 2016, the Federal Government agreed to …

Fixed once and for all

The GE TM2500 GTG gas turbine generator is big machine. It’s 24 metres long and 7 metres wide, weighs over 100 metric tonnes, and can generate net 34 MW of power. Forge Power rented two of them from GE for its temporary power station in Port Hedland, Western Australia. The …

Robo-advice: just advice, or is it a product?

Robo-advice is getting a lot of attention now, but online tools to assist in making financial decisions have been around in various forms for years. Back in 2004, there was an investor website with a focus on US stocks. Subscribers could use it to search for stocks that met investment …

Data access and transfer rights – a new regulatory framework proposed

The generation of data is increasing exponentially: it is estimated that 90% of the world’s information has been created in just the last two years. The Productivity Commission believes Australia’s regulatory framework to deal with this tsunami of information is out of date and needs to be overhauled. Its draft …

A reversal of fortune for reverse mortgages?

The cost of the age pension keeps growing, but so does the value of housing assets. Could this lead to more demand for products like reverse mortgages that let seniors access the value of their homes? Pension costs rising The population is getting older and people are living longer, which …

Equity crowdfunding state of play

Equity crowdfunding offers the prospect of small companies and start-ups raising capital quickly and cheaply from a large number of investors using internet based platforms. Australia is lagging behind the US and the UK in putting in place laws to enable crowdfunded equity investments. A draft Bill was introduced in …

Could lending to small business end up like consumer lending?

NCCPA NCCP consumer credit ACL credit licensing lawyers experts

These days, small businesses are often seen by governments as a vulnerable class like consumers who need to be protected by regulation. Assistance to small business has been a priority for the Coalition Federal Government. It has gone so far as to create a taxpayer funded advocate for small business …