Experts in Financial Services Law and Regulation

Holley Nethercote’s love affair with financial services law began when Grant Holley and Tim Nethercote secured a large life insurer as a client shortly after its founding in 1995.

Since then, the firm has steadily grown in size and in its engagement across diverse financial services sectors ranging from fintech startups to banks, and from professional associations to government regulators. The firm is now placed as a leading financial services law firm in Australia.

Our lawyers have a diverse background, coming from:

  • Top tier law firms
  • Government regulators
  • External dispute resolution schemes
  • Local and global financial services institutions
  • Our own law clerk program

How we can help

We can provide legal advice on any matter concerning Australian Financial Services Law. This could include:

  • Advice regarding your general licensing obligations (appointments, training, outsourcing, breach reporting, dispute resolution, risk management), structuring or growth strategies.
  • Assistance drafting or reviewing agreements (eg: Authorised representative and Intermediary agreements)
  • Assistance drafting or reviewing customised disclosure documents (FSGs, SOAs, PDSs – we have all the acronyms covered!)
  • Purchase or sale of an AFSL
  • Legal disputes
  • Responding to ASIC investigation or enforcement action

Licensing Advice

We often advise on the following question:

In light of our intended activities, do we require an Australian Financial Services Licence or Australian Credit Licence and, if so, what authorisations are required?

We sometimes combine that advice with consideration of related but separate legal regimes, including the application of obligations under:

  • AML/CTF legislation; and
  • APRA-regulated activities (for example, whether or not an intended activity meets the definition of a Purchased Payments Facility).

Licensee Reviews

We regularly review a business against its obligations as a licence holder. Sometimes, the scope of the review also takes into account Commissioner Hayne’s recommendation in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. Specifically, Hayne said:

Recommendation 5.6 – Changing culture and governance
All financial services entities should, as often as reasonably possible, take proper steps to:

  • assess the entity’s culture and its governance;
  • identify any problems with that culture and governance;
  • deal with those problems; and
  • determine whether the changes it has made have been effective.

We also undertake risk-based reviews. For example, we may review the end-to-end delivery of personal advice for a risk insurance advice business.

Dispute Resolution

We can help with:

  • AFCA complaints. Some of our lawyers had senior roles at both the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Financial Ombudsman Service (both of which are now called the Australian Financial Complaints Authority).
  • Regulatory Investigations. Some of our lawyers had senior roles at ASIC, and we regularly represent clients who are subject to administrative, civil or criminal action initiated by a Regulator.
  • Litigation. Our team includes seasoned litigators who regularly represent clients in court proceedings.

Licensee Reviews Explained

Ever wondered what’s involved in a Licensee Review?  Hear from our Senior Associate Zoe Higgins about the process and different review options we offer firms.

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Contact us today to see how we can assist