The financial regulator has extended its service charter for credit and financial services licenses, according to the head of licensing at a legal firm.
The licensing division of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has been directed to “intensify their scrutiny of applications”, with the service charter for Australian Credit Licenses (ACL), and Australian Financial Services (AFS) licenses, set to be extended, according to head of licensing at The Fold Legal, Sónia Cruz.
Ms Cruz noted that she was informed of the changes at a liaison meeting between ASIC and professional licensing consultants in March.
“ASIC has altered its service-level targets for assessing AFS and credit licence applications. We have now been conditioned to expect 70 per cent of applications to be assessed within 150 days and 90 per cent within 240 days,” the head of licensing said.
“That’s five to nine months, give or take.
“Applications will take longer to assess if they raise complex or new policy issues, or if ASIC is not given all the information they need.”
Ms Cruz added that such revisions have increased pressure on applicants, claiming that some businesses have sought to operate in alternative markets in order to avoid the process.
“This is making it more difficult for businesses launching new products and services to get to market. Indeed, some innovative businesses are exploring launching in other jurisdictions.
“Some changes are on the cards which sound good in theory, but only time will tell whether sustainable improvement will be achieved.”
ASIC developing new online licensing system
Further, Ms Cruz noted that during the liaison meeting, ASIC revealed plans to develop a new online licensing application process, designed to better “triage” applications.
According to Ms Cruz, regarding the online process, ASIC noted:
ASIC to enhance examination of Responsible Manager capability
Moreover, Ms Cruz noted that “ASIC will more closely scrutinise representations made about Responsible Managers”, which will include:
Ms Cruz claimed: “While ASIC’s efforts to simplify the licensing process are welcome, we predict that the increased scrutiny and complexity may well further protract and complicate the licensing process.
“Except for the simplest of applications, applicants are likely to continue to need professional assistance.”
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