ASIC to end COVID-19 relief instruments in October

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has set a date to end three COVID-19 related instruments which were announced as temporary and, at the time of their implementation, the regulator stated that they would be repealed following the crisis.

Following feedback from the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation, ASIC decided to amend these instruments to include specific end dates in October:

  1. The earlier amendment to the ASIC Corporations (Share and Interest Purchase Plans) Instrument 2019/547 will be repealed on 2 October, 2020 (six months after the amendment commenced).
  2. The ASIC Corporations (Trading Suspensions Relief) Instrument 2020/289 will be repealed on 2 October, 2020 (six months after it commenced).
  3. The ASIC Corporations (COVID-19 - Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2020/355 will be repealed on 15 October, 2020 (six months after it commenced)

According to chief executive of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), Dante De Gori, the industry was not consulted on the decision regarding setting an end date of 15 October for the COVID-19 relief measures including: relief to facilitate advice to individuals financially affected by COVID-19 about early access to superannuation, relief extending the period for giving time-critical Statements of Advice and relief to allow a Record of Advice to be given instead of a Statement of Advice in certain circumstances.

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“These relief measures have made advice more affordable for Australians when they need it most by reducing costs among financial planning practices,” he said.

 “ASIC had asked us to canvas members on their use of these relief measures and we are still in the process of compiling this feedback.

“It is too early to understand how long these measures will be needed and far too soon to be setting an end date, given that the feedback process is yet to be completed.”

The corporate regulator said it would continue to monitor the appropriateness of these temporary relief measures in light of the uncertain impacts of COVID-19 on capital markets and on the demand for financial advice.

“If ASIC considers it appropriate to end the relief before the six-month period or extend the relief, ASIC will give sufficient notice before any early repeal or extension is implemented,” the regulator said in a press release. 

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