ASIC grants 332 new AFS licenses in 2023 (YoY)

Rick Steves

ASIC’s annual licensing report aims to increase transparency and offer guidance to licensees, professional auditor registrants, and prospective applicants regarding ASIC’s licensing and professional registration decision-making processes.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released its annual licensing report, providing a comprehensive overview of its licensing and professional registration activities.

Report 772 Licensing and professional registration activities: 2023 update (REP 772) delves into ASIC’s role as a gatekeeper, ensuring that applicants seeking Australian financial services licenses, credit licenses, or professional registration meet the rigorous standards required to offer regulated financial services.

The important gatekeeping role served by ASIC’s Licensing function

ASIC’s Chief Executive Officer, Warren Day said: “Our report highlights the important gatekeeping role served by ASIC’s Licensing function. It ensures applicants seeking an Australian financial services licence, credit licence or professional registration meet the high standards required to provide these regulated services.

“We are continuing to make a number of improvements to ASIC’s Licensing processes and systems. These include increased engagement with stakeholders during the application process, ongoing work to develop a new licensing portal and streamlining our workflow systems to make it easier for stakeholders to interact with ASIC.”

Between July 2022 and June 2023, ASIC achieved the following milestones:

  • Received 1,272 applications for Australian financial services (AFS) licenses and Australian credit licenses.
  • Finalized 1,464 AFS and credit license applications.
  • Granted 332 new AFS licenses and 149 new credit licenses.
  • Approved 867 AFS and credit license variation applications from existing licensees.
  • Facilitated the registration of 118 company auditors, 44 SMSF auditors, and supported the approval of 29 liquidators.
  • During the same period, 401 license applications were either withdrawn or rejected for lodgment, 515 licenses were canceled, and 26 licenses were suspended. Additionally, 51 professional registration applications were withdrawn, and 4 were refused.

ASIC’s annual licensing report aims to increase transparency and offer guidance to licensees, professional auditor registrants, and prospective applicants regarding ASIC’s licensing and professional registration decision-making processes. The report details the factors ASIC considers when assessing applications, explains why specific information is required, and outlines factors that might affect the application assessment timeline.

The report follows ASIC’s engagement with the Financial Regulator Assessment Authority (FRAA) at the beginning of the reporting period. FRAA’s review covered various aspects of ASIC’s operations, including strategic prioritization, planning, decision-making, surveillance, licensing, and the organization’s use of data and technology. The feedback from FRAA affirmed ASIC’s effectiveness and capability across these areas.

ASIC said it is committed to expanding its capabilities and implementing regulatory efficiency initiatives based on the FRAA’s recommendations, ensuring continued excellence in its gatekeeping role in the Australian financial services sector.

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