InFocus November 2019 - Volume 28 Issue 10

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Want to register a company within minutes? Move online with BRS

To register an Australian company, you can either use the Australian Government's Business Registration Service (BRS) or contact a private service provider (PSP).

BRS combines several business and tax registrations in one place, making it even easier to start a business. BRS Provides a single online service, including payment by credit card, for business name (ASIC), company (ASIC), Australian Business Number (ABR) and tax registrations (ATO).

Register your company online now using the Business Registration Service.

Most company types can be registered using the BRS. Exceptions to this are:

If you wish to register one of these company types, please contact us.

Changes to the professional standards for financial advisers

From 1 January 2020, all financial advisers will need to meet new legislative requirements to help improve the quality of advice in Australia and ensure that customers are receiving the best possible services.

New requirements include:

  • between 15 November and 31 December 2019, Australian financial services licensees will need to provide new information about their advisers for the Financial Advisers Register
  • all financial advisers will need to hold an educational qualification that has been approved by the Financial Advisers Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA)
  • all financial advisers will need to pass an exam set by FASEA
  • all financial advisers must engage in continuing professional development (CPD) each year and advise ASIC if they fail to meet it
  • new financial advisers will need to complete a year of work and training

All financial advisers must also abide by the Financial Planners and Advisers Code of Ethics 2019 from 1 January 2020. The code is a set of principles and core values that provides a framework to shape and reinforce ethical conduct for advisers.

There are some transitional arrangements for existing advisers that were authorised before 1 January 2019.

For more information about the Financial Advisers Register and the new reforms, visit www.asic.gov.au/far.

ASIC Digital Service Provider Terms and Conditions

We’re introducing terms and conditions for software developers to set expectations on how they use our online services and interact with their customers.

Under these new terms and conditions, software developers will be known as Digital Service Providers (DSP).

A consultation period has been held with DSPs. The ASIC Digital Services Access Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) are now finalised and will come into effect on at the end of this month.

The T&Cs define the eligibility criteria and obligations to be fulfilled by ASIC DSPs. All DSPs are expected to read the T&Cs to ensure they comply.

More information about the T&Cs will be made available soon.

Changes to Gift Cards and Pre-Selected Options Provisions

In Australia, approximately 34 million gift cards are sold each year, with an estimated value of $2.5 billion. It is estimated that $70 million of this is lost annually to gift card expiration.

Businesses and consumers should be aware that from 1 November 2019 new Australian Consumer Law (ACL) gift card provisions are in place. These new rules apply no matter where in Australia you are.

From 1 November 2019:

  • most gift cards and vouchers sold will be valid for a minimum of three years,
  • expiry information must be displayed prominently on gift cards, and
  • certain post-purchase fees will be banned, however transaction costs such as booking fees and foreign currency conversion fees can be applied.

More information on the changes to gift cards is available at www.consumerlaw.gov.au/new-gift-card-laws.

A change to the ACL also means that businesses who offer online products and services need to ensure the advertised price includes all pre-selected options. That is, the price a consumer chooses to proceed to checkout with is free from hidden additional costs that they do not get a chance to deselect.

Upcoming events

Meet the Regulators

7 November 2019

ASIC is committed to supporting the needs of Indigenous small businesses and the contributions they make across Australia. On Thursday 7 November, we will be partnering with the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) in a ‘Meet the Regulators’ session for CPA members in Alice Springs. To register for this event, please visit the CPA Australia website or email nt@cpaaustralia.com.au.

Small Business over Coffee

12-13 November 2019

ASIC and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), together with the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce & Industry, are holding an event on 12-13 November 2019 for small business. The event will provide opportunities for them to network, meet like-minded business owners and access advice from local, experienced professionals to help small business grow.

You can register for the event here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/small-business-over-coffee-november-tickets-74257378819

ASIC Annual Forum 2020

25-26 March 2020

Registration is now open for the ASIC Annual Forum 2020.

Program highlights include meeting the ASIC’s Commissioners as they outline priorities for the year ahead and take questions from the floor. You will also hear from expert panels discuss ethics in the business context and developments in Australia’s superannuation system.

To find out more information and register, visit our website.

Last updated: 06/11/2019 10:58