A number of class orders have been announced which relieve certain wholesale foreign financial services providers from the requirement to hold an Australian financial services licence. As a result, certain providers in the United Kingdom, the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore will be able to provide limited financial services with respect to specific financial products.
The Australian Stock Exchange has proposed changing its Listing Rules to broaden the spectrum of capital-raising mechanisms available to listed entities. Amendments would include raising the percentage of equity securities that may be issued without investor approval and facilitating two-stage 'jumbo offers', open to both institutional security holders and existing investors.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission recently issued a new class order which provides conditional relief from the investor disclosure, financial services licensing and hawking provisions of the Corporations Act for certain offers of shares, options and other financial products made to full-time or part-time employees and directors under an employee share scheme.
The Federal Court recently found an expert liable for misleading and deceptive statements in a report contained in a prospectus for a managed investment scheme. Among other things, the decision warns that a negative assurance will not protect an expert from liability where an opinion included in a prospectus would have been misleading if expressed in positive terms.
The government has issued a proposal to widen the scope of the 'public offer' exemption from interest withholding tax. The restrictions applicable to the issuance of securities to certain associates of the issuer and the payment of interest to them will be relaxed, and the exemption will be extended to cover interest derived from certain sales of discounted securities.
The Australian Stock Exchange is to restructure its clearing and settlement functions by creating a single central counterparty, the Australian Clearing House. The National Guarantee Fund will be terminated when the new structure is established, but it is anticipated that the new entity will have direct access to sufficient capital to manage its counterparty risk in the event of default.
The Australian Stock Exchange recently announced changes to its listed disclosure rules. The amendments clarify the continuous disclosure obligations and establish a set of best practice corporate governance recommendations for Australian listed companies. Further, alterations to the financial periodic reporting requirements have been made.
The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) recently issued an exposure draft paper which examines the performance of and proposed changes to the continuous disclosure regime for ASX-listed entities. It proposes that the ASX be given greater discretion in determining compliance and enhancing awareness of the tools that it can use to promote disclosure.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has issued a class order extending its interim relief from provisions of the Corporations Act. These provisions are designed to prevent the issuance of securities without a prospectus where the securities are sold on to retail investors without a prospectus within 12 months of issuance.
Equity securities listed on the Australian Stock Exchange have traditionally been categorized under one of 24 industry sectors unique to Australia. However, in order to bring Australia into line with the rest of the world, all listed Australian companies have been reclassified in accordance with the Global Industry Classification Standard.
The consultative draft policy statement (PS 170: Prospective Financial Information) of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission describes its approach to the use of prospective financial information, including financial forecasts and projections, in fundraising documents.
The Australian Stock Exchange Limited has announced that it proposes to change the requirements for foreign public companies listed or seeking listing in the 'foreign exempt' category, with effect from June 1 2002.
Recent market news includes a new cooperation between the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Reserve Bank of Australia in relation to licensed clearing and settlement facilities, and a link between the stock exchanges of Australia and Singapore.
A recent amendment to the Financial Services Reform Act has strengthened an anti-avoidance provision designed to prevent the issuance of securities without a prospectus, where the securities are sold on to retail investors without a prospectus within 12 months of issuance.
Including: General Framework; Legislative Framework; Institutional Framework; Taxation.
The Financial Services Reform Act 2001 has been enacted and will come into force on March 11 2002, although some parts of the act came into force on September 27 2001. This update examines the new reforms and discusses their implications.
Recent announcements in relation to Australia's interest withholding tax regime are expected to facilitate both the primary distribution and the secondary sale of debt securities by Australian issuers in international capital markets.
Revisions to the Corporations Law and the Financial Services Law have moved a step closer to their enactment. Meanwhile the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has released papers that set out the way it proposes to handle policy and administrative issues arising from the new regime.
The planned merger of the Australian Stock Exchange and the New Zealand Stock Exchange has been abandoned. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank of Australia has expanded the range of eligible collateral for its domestic repurchase agreements.
This update reports on recent market news including the merger of Austraclear and the Sydney Futures Exchange, and the new world Link Service launched by the Australian Stock Exchange.