ASIC has helped the law work better for business by granting over 600 applications for relief between 1 October 2019 and 31 March 2020.
ASIC’s latest report, Overview of decisions on relief applications (October 2019 to March 2020) (REP 664), outlines decisions on relief applications and highlights ASIC’s efforts to reduce red-tape and achieve a practical, positive outcome for companies seeking regulatory flexibility, without harming stakeholders.
During the report period, ASIC granted relief from provisions of the Corporations Act or the National Credit Act in relation to 619 applications.
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. 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.
REP 664 lists publications released by ASIC during the period that may be relevant to prospective applicants for relief.
The report also provides examples where ASIC has exercised, or refused to exercise, its exemption and modification powers under the Corporations Act.
During, and subsequent to, the report period ASIC has provided facilitative individual and class relief to mitigate the impacts on business of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated containment measures.
REP 664 includes summaries of selected individual relief decisions, publications and legislative instruments which relate to COVID-19. These relief decisions and publications concern disclosure, financial reporting, AGMs and registered office closure.
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.
ASIC can modify or set aside certain provisions of the Corporations Act, including Chapters 2D (officers and employees), 2G (meetings), 2M (financial reporting and audit), 5C (managed investment schemes), 6 (takeovers), 6D (fundraising) and 7 (financial services).
ASIC also has powers to grant relief under the provisions of Chapters 2 (licensing) and 3 (responsible lending) of the National Credit Act and from all or specified provisions of the National Credit Code, which is in Sch 1 to the National Credit Act.
In limited situations, ASIC may also consider providing a no‑action letter when instances of non‑compliance with certain statutory provisions have been brought to ASIC’s attention. A no‑action letter states to a particular person that ASIC does not intend to take regulatory action over a particular state of affairs or particular conduct. The factors that ASIC will consider when dealing with a request for a no‑action letter are set out in Regulatory Guide 108 No‑action letters (RG 108).
Applying for relief
Applications for relief must be in writing and should address the requirements set out in Regulatory Guide 51 Applications for relief (RG 51) (and any other regulatory guides relevant to the application).
Applications can be submitted electronically to [email protected]. Fees are applicable for relief applications.
Early in the new financial year, the ASIC Regulatory Portal will replace the current email submission channel as the primary method to submit relief applications. More information is available on our website: applications for relief
To ensure that applications are assessed as quickly and efficiently as possible, ASIC will continue to strictly enforce our policy to refuse applications for relief where the required information is not provided. Where we have asked for additional information within a specified time period, and a reasonable explanation is not provided for any delay, we may refuse an application for relief.
- Report 664 Overview of decsions on relief applications (October 2019 to March 2020) (REP 664)