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Extended licensing relief for foreign financial services providers

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This article was written by Damien Richard and Alessia Morgan.

As anticipated in earlier announcements, ASIC announced today the extension of licensing relief for foreign financial services providers (FFSPs) to 31 March 2020.  Banks, asset managers, brokers, financial product issuers, distributors and advisers and other FFSPs with clients or businesses in Australia should consider their future activities.  They have just over 6 months to decide whether they wish to apply for a foreign Australian financial services (AFS) licence or a full AFS licence, can rely on other exemptions or should cease servicing the Australian wholesale market.

This extension applies to the sufficient equivalence relief and limited connection relief by force of ASIC Corporations (Amendment) Instrument 2019/902.  Further information on that relief and ASIC's proposed changes to the licensing regime for FFSPs can be found in our July 2019 alert.   Submissions on ASIC's proposed changes closed on 9 August 2019.

The ASIC announcement did not provide any update on its proposed new foreign AFS licence or AFS licence exemption for limited scale funds management services.   Even though the proposals have not been finalised, FSSPs only have until 31 March 2020 to decide what to do and, in some cases, implement changes.

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