The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will adopt “a reasonable and pragmatic approach” to compliance with the recently-introduced amendments to the Financial Services Reform Act it said yesterday.

In a statement issued yesterday ASIC said the ‘Refinements to financial services regulations’ introduced on December 15 last year make “significant changes to the FSR framework” and the industry would need some time to adapt. The eight FSR refinement proposals first made in May 2005 include changing Statement of Advice rules and amending general advice warnings. While ASIC said it would be reasonably tolerant as the industry settled down to the new rules , it would act quickly to enforce the new rules if the actions of a financial services company materially harmed consumers or could “undermine the confident and informed participation of consumers in the financial market”. “ASIC expects financial service providers to follow the spirit and substance of the new regulations, particularly where there might be some uncertainty as to how a regulation applies,” the regulator said yesterday. “Financial service providers should act fairly, especially where their conduct involves retail clients.” Malcolm Rodgers, ASIC executive director of regulation, said no formal guidelines for the new regulations would be issued as the current information should explain clearly how the rules are meant to work. ‘We expect that financial service providers will make a genuine effort to comply with them,” Rodgers said. “We will, however, continue to monitor developments, and if experience shows there is a need to provide guidance at a later stage, we will do so.”

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