The Australian Securities and Investments Commission, popularly known as ASIC, has updated its licensing and registration activities, revealing that it approved 394 new Australian financial services (AFS) and credit licenses between July 2019 and June 2020.
The announcement on Wednesday further detailed that the regulator received 1,500 licensing and professional registration applications in the 12 months, including 1,346 AFS and credit licensing applications. The regulator received 1,504 such applications in the previous 12 months.
Additionally, ASIC approved 580 variation applications of the AFS and credit license.
Further, the report highlighted that 361 AFS and credit license applicants withdrew their applications while the regulator rejected 4. Another 683 licenses were cancelled, and 40 were suspended.
After the specified period of the report, ASIC cancelled the AFS license of forex brokerage Union Standard International Group Pty Ltd (USGFX) as it entered into liquidation.
ASIC Made the Rules Strict
The Australian regulator revealed that it imposed additional conditions on approving the applications to ensure the appropriation of the business activities and competence.
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“These reforms broaden the scope of who ASIC will consider as ‘fit and proper people’ for license applications,” ASIC Commissioner, Danielle Press said in a statement. “We have new powers to refuse a license application where we have been provided false or misleading information or there is an omission of a material matter in an application, report, or statement from an applicant.”
It is to be noted that the ongoing pandemic has also affected the financial sector heavily, and the Australian regulator became cautious with the applicants’ approach towards the stressed market.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on licensees and professional registrants in 2020. The impacts range from moving employees, representatives, and operations to an online environment to delaying the commencement of operations entirely,” the full report added.
Furthermore, ASIC revealed that it approved the registration of 58 company auditors, 40 SMSF auditors and 12 liquidators.
Meanwhile, the regulator remained cautious against the fraud in the Australian financial markets and recently froze the bank accounts of two Ponzi schemes, Finance Magnates reported.