ASIC has reinforced its tough stance on dollar disclosure rules for financial planners in a decision released yesterday where it refused relief to an Australian Financial Services (AFS) licensee.

In its report on relief from Corporations Act applications in the September 2005 quarter the regulator revealed it had turned down at least one AFS holder which sought exemption from disclosing its commissions in dollar amounts in Statements of Advice. “The applicant failed to demonstrate that there were any exceptional circumstances that would make compliance with the dollar disclosure provisions unreasonably burdensome,” ASIC said. “Its submission that it would incur significant compliance costs making adjustments to its systems was not a sufficient basis for us to grant relief, particularly given that the financial services industry had already had a significant period in which to transition to the dollar disclosure obligations.” ASIC introduced its dollar disclosure rules in March last year after giving the industry nine months to transition to the new arrangements. In the relief report released yesterday ASIC also revealed it had granted Professional Investment Holdings (PIH) – the parent company of dealer group Professional Investment Services – and Aviva relief from some of the provisions of the Corporations Act relating to a foreign company’s acquisition of shares. Last year Aviva upped its shareholding in PIH from 6 to 25 per cent. ASIC said it granted relief in this case because the shareholders were adequately informed about Aviva’s offer. “Our decision to grant relief was consistent with previous decisions we have made in the context of offers made to Australian residents under regulated foreign takeover bids in approved foreign markets and schemes of arrangement for foreign companies in approved foreign markets that are subject to court approval,” ASIC said.

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