Regulator news and government inquiries

Contracts for difference – CFDs – are risky financial products that should not be marketed to ordinary retail investors in CFA’s opinion. CFD’s are not ordinary shares and significantly magnify the risks of investing. CFA has welcomed ASIC’s release of new disclosure benchmarks for CFDs that aim to improve disclosure and investor awareness about risks…

Read More CFA welcomes ASIC action on Contracts for Difference (CFD)

ASIC has taken action against Shield Mercantile Pty Ltd following complaints from consumers about harassment. Among the complaints were concerns regarding unduly frequent contact with debtors, contact with third parties, inappropriate and aggressive phonecalls and inadequate internal dispute resolution policies and procedures. ASIC spokesperson, Greg Kirk, said: ‘Creditors and debt collectors can’t behave in a…

Read More Action on debt collection complaints

ASIC has released proposals for modifying the training requirements for credit representatives who provide credit assistance to consumers on home loans. The proposals address some recent industry concern about the training requirements. ASIC believes the proposals strike an appropriate balance between the interests of confident and informed financial consumers and the regulatory obligations of market…

Read More ASIC considering changes to home lending training requirements

ASIC released a consultation paper 28 July 2011 proposing new guidance for people who give (financial) advice to retail clients. This builds on ASIC Regulatory Guide 200 Access to advice for super fund members (RG 200) and ASIC’s Report 224 Access to Financial Advice in Australia (REP 224) in December 2010. This report found that…

Read More ASIC consultation paper on guidance for financial advisers – comment due 8 September 2011

repairing a car repairing a car

The Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC) has produced an issues paper on Sharing of repair information in the automotive industry. The terms of reference for this review deal with consumer detriment potentially caused by the practice of manufacturers and importers failing to share information  wth independent repairers of motor vehicles. For further information and…

Read More Sharing information in the automotive industry

ASIC has successfully completed the major initial licensing of consumer credit businesses as part of the transition to the new national consumer credit laws. ASIC Commissioner, Peter Boxall, said only licensed people or businesses can carry on consumer credit activities now. ‘If you are getting credit or getting advice or assistance on credit make sure…

Read More ASIC refuses four applications for credit licenses and puts conditions on others

On 1 July ASIC announced that it had commenced criminal proceedings against officers of the Wespoint companies for breaches of the corporations act. In a separate matter Rundle was found guilty by a Sydney jury of making misleading statements to a financial institution in support of a $71 million credit facility to fund a Westpoint…

Read More Westpoint and other recent ASIC enforcement actions

The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, in consultation with a working group of representatives from Commonwealth, state and territory health departments, has prepared an issues paper on the proposed establishment and implementation of a Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system.  The PCEHR is intended to be a secure, electronic record of an individual’s medical history, stored and…

Read More Call for comments on electronic health records system

The Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs is holding an inquiry into the insurance industry with specific reference to extreme weather and disaster events. Submissions will be accepted until Friday 12 August 2011, with the exception of submissions from Western Australia, which are requested by Friday 22 July 2011, as the Committee will…

Read More Operation of the insurance industry during disaster events – Commonwealth inquiry

The Select Committee on Australia’s Food Processing Sector is inquiring into the competitiveness and future viability of Australia’s food processing sector. As part of its inquiry, the committee will consider the implications for the sector of Australia’s regulatory environment, competition regime and anti-dumping rules, international anti-free trade measures, and production inputs. The committee is inviting…

Read More Senate Inquiry into Australia’s Food Processing Sector

CFA welcomes recent action by the ACCC to respond to misleading advertising in the communications sector. In July the Federal Court  ordered Optus to pay $5.26 million in civil pecuniary penalties for breaches of the Trade Practices Act through the advertising of  various broadband internet plans. In recent months, the ACCC has successfully taken enforcement…

Read More Optus latest telco to be stung for misleading advertising