THE Australian Securities and Investments Commission reports strong demand for Australian Financial Services licences but is warning against complacency.
The commission has also announced that it will start conducting random checks on the compliance and risk management arrangements of AFS licensees, in addition to the ongoing surveillance it is doing.
ASIC executive director of financial services regulation Ian Johnston said the high number of applications was indicative of a growing number of financial services but that a steady decline in the standard of applications was a concern.
“Common problems include failure to provide all documents requested and deficiencies in many of those provided,” he said.
“These include financial statements not audited or not signed by the appropriate party, failure to adequately detail compliance and risk management procedures and failure to adequately identify the relevant experience and qualifications of responsible officers.
“Licence applications that do not include all the information requested will be considered incomplete and, as stipulated under the Corporations Act, we will not accept them for lodgement.”
Since the transition phase ended in 2004 ASIC has issued an extra 363 AFS licences, bringing the total number to 4,101.
The commission has also granted a further 582 variations to existing AFS licensees and has been informed of 1,018 changes of responsible officers.
ASIC has published a number of documents that will assist people applying for an AFS licence as well as existing licensees looking to vary their AFS licence.