Insights / August 17th, 2020

AFSL applications

If you are carrying on a financial services business, you might need an AFSL.

We can help you establish your independent, boutique financial services business, apply for your AFSL and help you navigate financial services law – so you can focus on helping your clients.

Before you apply

Think about your business model. Some key questions to consider:

  • What financial services are being provided and what do you need to be authorised to do under your AFSL?

  • Are your clients wholesale or retail, or both?

  • What financial products do you want to advise on?

  • Will you be arranging for clients to apply for or acquire financial products?

  • Or are you actually issuing financial products?

These are key questions – your arrangements (including human and financial resources needs and compliance monitoring arrangements) will depend on what services and products you will be providing.

What information do you need for the application?

The AFSL application form is completed online through ASIC’s website and supported by documents known as “proofs”. Proofs are used by ASIC to assess whether your business is likely to be able to meet its core legal obligations.

You will need to describe your business to ASIC, provide information about your Responsible Managers and explain how you will ensure that you have sufficient financial resources.

You will also need to provide information about your officers and the people who control the business so that ASIC can assess whether these people are fit and proper to operate a financial services business.

The Financial Services Team at Cowell Clarke can help you with all of these issues. We can answer the application questions, prepare required proofs, provide all of the supporting compliance policies and procedure documents, and take the necessary steps to show that your financial services business will be able to meet its compliance obligations.

What happens next?

Once ASIC has received a complete application, it will assess whether the AFSL can be granted. This might involve ASIC asking you further questions (known as requisitions), which must be answered before the AFSL can be granted. If you don’t answer these questions by the deadline, your application is taken to be withdrawn and you may need to start the process again.

Once ASIC is satisfied that the application meets the criteria set out in legislation, it must grant the AFSL.

Your AFSL has been granted – what next?

You can start providing financial services!

You must also adhere to financial services law and your AFSL conditions at all times, and ensure that your representatives meet their obligations too.

Other ways Cowell Clarke can assist

In addition to assisting you with applying for or varying an AFSL, our team can:

  • Provide an online AFSL compliance solution to centralise and simplify your ongoing AFSL compliance obligations.

  • Assist with your day-to-day AFSL compliance issues.

  • Advise on practical tips for managing your AFSL compliance risks.

  • Draft agreements and disclosure documents.

  • Advise the board on best practice corporate governance.

  • Review your compliance arrangements against legal and regulatory requirements.

  • Assist with assessing contraventions of financial services law, navigating breach reporting and responding to ASIC questions.

  • Advise on and assist with related compliance obligations such as anti-money laundering and privacy.

If you'd like to discuss any of the points above and how we can assist your financial services business, contact us and one of our Financial Services experts will assist.

This publication has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only and does not constitute professional legal advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional legal advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication and to the extent permitted by law, Cowell Clarke does not accept or assume any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any consequences of you or anyone else acting or refraining to act in relation on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.

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