Our expertise

Regulatory & Governance

Regulatory Surveillance & Action

Regulatory activity (surveillance and action) is increasing. Our team has gained valuable experience working inside the regulators and can help you to respond to the regulators in a way that is most likely to result in the best possible outcome for you and your business.

Board & Fund Governance

Governance includes the framework of rules, relationships, systems and processes within and by which authority is exercised and controlled within an organisation.

We advise and assist our clients to develop and implement appropriate governance frameworks that reflect the expectations of the relevant stakeholders, taking into account the size, complexity and culture of the organisation.

Licensing (ASIC & APRA)

Generally, a business that provides financial services must hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (issued by ASIC). And a business that wishes to act as trustee of a complying superannuation fund (excluding a self-managed superannuation fund), must hold an RSE Licence (issued by APRA).

We can assist with the entire process, including the development of the underlying policies and procedures that need to be put in place (and maintained) to prove to the regulator that you can satisfy the regulatory requirements.

Prudential Requirements

APRA’s Prudential Requirements introduced an additional layer of regulation, many of which overlap to some extent. Whether you are seeking comfort that your policies and procedures comply with the Prudential Standards or Prudential Practice Guides, or you need advice on the practical applications and consequences of the requirements, we can help.

Disclosure & Marketing

Regulated Disclosure Documents

We are confident that no firm has more experience than Greenfields with disclosure documents and the associated issues.

The disclosure regimes are complex and give rise to significant risks if shortcuts are taken or if disclosure is treated as a marketing responsibility, isolated from other responsibilities (including responsibilities relating to the accuracy of disclosures having regard to other governing documents, investment policies, insurance terms etc).

We prepare and review disclosures for advisers, superannuation funds, managed investment schemes, etc. and promote the use of plain-English, particularly for disclosures for retail clients. We also assist in developing due diligence frameworks to ensure disclosures are not only consistent with the law, but other important documents (eg. trust deed, insurance contracts, investment policies).

Websites

Websites give rise to unique risks, particularly when they are used to promote financial products, are used to comply with product disclosure obligations or include financial calculators. We help our clients to develop their website content and also perform audits of websites to assist clients to identify risks.

Calculators

Financial calculators are heavily regulated and must usually comply with stringent conditions in order to rely on class order relief. We have reviewed many financial calculators for a large number of financial services licensees. We use our broad knowledge and experience to benefit our clients.

Advertising

Typically, the most significant risk with advertising arises from the laws relating to misleading and deceptive conduct. The most likely consequence of a breach is an action by a consumer or the regulator. And whilst marketing people will often take a “robust” view when it comes to what constitutes “misleading and deceptive”, the courts and the regulators rarely take a “marketing” approach.

We know what is likely to attract the attention of the regulator and provide our clients with practical, risk-based advice.

Social Media

As our clients increasingly use social media, we have assisted them to manage the unique risks associated with these modes of communication and marketing that are more open and more difficult to control than traditional media.

For example, the use of bloggers to promote products and services raises numerous issues and risks. We help our clients navigate the social media legal landscape and manage the associated risks.

Promotions & Contests

Each state has its own laws governing promotions and contests and failure to comply can expose businesses to potential fines. We help our clients comply with the relevant requirements and obtain the necessary permits and licences.

Transactions & Due Diligence

Fund Mergers

Our lawyers have been involved in more fund mergers than any other firm in Australia. Our merger experience covers corporate, industry and retail funds; accumulation and defined benefit funds.

For this reason, we have probably dealt with, and addressed, almost every issue that can arise in the context of a fund merger. From due diligence to disclosure, we are fund merger experts.

Product Development

We assist our clients to launch new products, which can include drafting the necessary documentation to manufacture the product and preparing the disclosure documents. We are also increasingly involved during product “development” so that we can help identify issues and opportunities at an early stage.

Outsourcing Agreements

Most financial services businesses engage numerous external service providers to support them. Some agreements for these services must comply with strict legal requirements. Even where this is not the case, a licensee will normally need to have in place appropriate agreements to ensure that they are complying with their licensing obligations, including those relating to risk management.

We have a wealth of experience in preparing and negotiating all types of services agreements that are typically used by financial services businesses, including custody agreements, investment management agreements, administration agreements, promoter agreements, asset consulting agreements, website agreements, etc.

Insurance

We advise on insurance claims and complaints.  We also undertake litigation in relation to insurance claims, review and negotiate the terms of contracts of insurance and assist with the formulation of prescribed disclosures to ensure consistency with contract terms.

We have significant experience with life insurance and professional indemnity insurance.

Investments

We regularly assist our clients with their due diligence and to negotiate the documentation for investment transactions, including private equity investment and investment in limited partnerships.

We also review and negotiate asset consulting and investment management agreements.

Disputes

Superannuation, Death & Disablement Claims

Death and disablement claims can be complex and, when they are, they increase the risks to the trustee. We assist clients with the appropriate consideration of claims.

We also have a wealth of experience in dealing with complaints at the SCT, FOS and AFCA and dealing with a broad range of litigation in the various state and federal courts.

Court Directions

We have been involved in a number of high-profile applications for court directions where trustees have sought the court’s assistance with interpreting the fund’s trust deed or in seeking the court’s approval for a proposed course of action.

Mediation

To achieve a positive outcome, mediation takes skill, patience and determination. We understand the interaction between mediation strategy and your commercial and legal objectives.

Regulatory Action

Regulatory activity (surveillance and action) is increasing. Our team has gained valuable experience working inside the regulators and can help you to respond to the regulators in a way that is most likely to result in the best possible outcome for you and your business.

Training & Support

Board & Staff Training

We provide training for boards and staff on a range of topics and we are happy to tailor the content to your needs.

We can present on legislative and regulatory developments and any other relevant topics that are of particular interest to you, your staff or your board.

Company Secretarial Support

We provide advice and support services to Company Secretaries.

Compliance Committee Support

We provide advice, training and support services (ad hoc or on-going) to Compliance Committees.

This may involve us being a member of, or simply attending, Compliance Committee meetings to provide legal advice or risk and compliance support.

Focus areas of the team

Disclosure
Fees & Costs
Financial Advice
Funds Management
Governance
Licensing (ASIC & APRA)
Platforms
Regulator Liaison
Superannuation
Financial Advice
Fund Mergers
Funds Management
Investments
Licensing (ASIC & APRA)
Outsourcing Agreements
Platforms
Superannuation
Claims
Disputes & Litigation
Fund Mergers
Regulator Liaison
Superannuation
Claims
Disputes & Litigation
Insurance
Superannuation

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