ASIC Extends Licensing Relief to Foreign Financial Service Providers

Regulated foreign firms can now operate in the country until March 31, 2023, without a local license.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced on Friday the extension of temporary relief for all foreign financial service providers (FFSPs) that will allow them to operate in the country without an Australian Financial Services (AFS) license.

The relief has been extended for 12 months, ending on March 31, 2023. The financial market regulator is expecting that the Australian government will provide an outcome after consultation on the matter by that time period.

The Aussie government first released a proposal in its latest budget to restore relief of the AFS license requirement for FFSPs which already hold licenses in jurisdictions with ‘comparable financial service rules and obligations’. 

Additionally, they are considering creating a fast-track licensing process for FFSPs who want to establish permanent operations in the country.

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Until now, the relief to the FFPs was provided till 31 March 2022, which has been extended by the financial markets regulator.

A Welcoming Move

“Today’s announcement has been eagerly anticipated by a number of our clients who have been putting significant effort into their Foreign AFSL application recently. The commentary in the Australian budget last month as to the future of the Foreign AFSL regime garnered attention in the Australian media and created angst amongst industry participants,” Sarah Murray, Head of Licensing at Sophie Grace, told Finance Magnates.

Furthermore, ASIC has paused the assessment of the license applications lodged by FFPs but is willing to review them upon request. The regulator clarified that it will accept new AFS licensing applications during the relief period.

“As the Australian economy (and the world) seeks a path out of Covid, financial service providers locally are seeking government support for re-igniting a “financial services hub” strategy for Australia. We are supportive of any moves which move Australia towards that outcome,” Murray added.

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