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ASIC to develop policy on listed managed investment scheme buy-backs

ASIC has announced plans to develop a policy which will allow buy-backs of interests in listed registered schemes in certain circumstances. ASIC’s policy will take into account industry concerns that existing regulation of buy-back offers for managed investment schemes makes it difficult for listed schemes to use the capital management techniques available to listed companies. Currently, on-market scheme buy-backs are difficult to implement due to the application of the withdrawal procedures under Part 5C.6 of the Corporations Act to schemes that have non-liquid assets. ASIC recently approved relief from various requirements of the Act to an ASX-listed entity to facilitate a proposed on-market scheme buy-back. This relief was granted subject to a number of conditions, including: • that the number of interests to be acquired under the buy-back be limited to no greater than 10 per cent of the smallest number, at any time during the last 12 months, of interests on issue, • buy-back price ceilings ensure that members who do not participate in the buy-back do not have the value of their holdings unfairly diluted as a result of the buy-back. These ceilings were calculated both by reference to net asset backing of the interests and by reference to the average market price of the interests, and • that adequate notice of the intended buy-back be provided to allow equal opportunity to participate in the buy-back. In the interim, ASIC will consider any applications for relief in relation to on-market buy-backs by listed schemes on a case-by-case basis. Applications can be made by emailing a copy of your application and any attachments to applications.manager@asic.gov.au.

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