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Wednesday 9 January 2019

19-003 AAT upholds ASIC’s decision to refuse AFS licence

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has affirmed ASIC’s decision to refuse Michael David Watson an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence.

On 21 December 2018, the AAT found Mr Watson did not provide all the relevant information that ASIC requires to appropriately assess and grant a licence.

The decision is a reminder to industry that applicants need to provide ASIC with all relevant information that ASIC’s requests to demonstrate that they are able to meet all AFS licence requirements if a licence is to be granted.

'We welcome the AAT's decision which supports the decision of our own delegate. ASIC is not simply a rubber stamp. We need applicants to provide all relevant supporting information, rather than just insisting what they have chosen to provide is adequate,' said ASIC Senior Executive, Warren Day.

'The applicant must be able to demonstrate that educational courses they seek to rely on, cover the appropriate technical content needed to operate the licence,' concluded Mr Day.

The AAT decision also provides a timely reminder that ASIC places significant weight on an applicant’s past conduct (not just under the Corporations Act) in determining whether the applicant is likely to comply with AFS licence obligations.

Representations made in an application that are false or misleading provide grounds for ASIC to refuse a licence application.


On 30 June 2016, Mr Michael David Watson applied for a limited AFS licence to provide financial product advice in relation to self-managed superannuation funds, amongst other financial products. After assessing the application and providing Mr Watson with a right to make submissions and be heard, on 20 October 2017, an ASIC Delegate determined that Mr Watson’s application be refused.

Mr Watson appealed ASIC’s decision to the AAT on 20 November 2017. A copy of the decision is available here:

Mr Watson has 28 days in which to appeal the AAT’s decision.

Last updated: 09/01/2019 09:33