Number of approved Australian financial services licensees drops for first time, ASIC says

Maria Nikolova

For the first year since inception, the total number of approved AFS licensees has fallen (from 6,170 in June 2018 to 6,159 in June 2019).

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has earlier today published its Overview of licensing and professional registration applications for the year from July 2018 to June 2019. The report outlines ASIC’s decisions on applications for the relevant period.

The document shows that, for the first year since inception, the total number of approved AFS licensees has fallen (from 6,170 in June 2018 to 6,159 in June 2019). Given the generally consistent number of new AFS licences approved each year, ASIC explains that the decrease reflects an increase in the number of cancellations. However, the total number of AFS licensees is still significantly higher than at the commencement of the regime.

In the relevant period, ASIC cancelled 342 AFS licences and suspended 11 AFS licences.

In 2018–19, the Australian regulator refused nine AFS licence applications. A total of 172 AFS licence applications and 154 credit licence applications were voluntarily withdrawn before ASIC made a formal determination. For both AFS licences and credit licences, the regulator believes the number of applications refused would have been much higher if applicants had not withdrawn their applications in response to ASIC’s feedback.

The regulator reminds the licensees that, on 1 November 2018, the law was changed to replace the two existing ASIC-approved external dispute resolution schemes—the Financial Ombudsman Scheme (FOS) and the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO)—and the statutory Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) with AFCA. All financial firms that are required to be members of an external dispute resolution scheme to deal with complaints from consumers and small businesses must now be members of AFCA. This includes trustees of regulated superannuation funds.

ASIC stresses it will not finalise a new licence application unless the applicant is a member of AFCA. ASIC can take action to suspend or cancel a licence if a licensee is not a member of AFCA.

During the relevant period, ASIC cancelled or suspended four AFS licences and 48 credit licences for a failure to obtain membership of the AFCA scheme.

The Australian regulator also stresses the importance of the new requirements for certain applicants, including FX companies. These entities will have to submit:

  • C5: Foreign Exchange Operating Statement
  • B3: Arrangements for Managing Conflicts of Interests
  • B3: Compliance Arrangements
  • B7: Risk Management System Statement.

Read this next

Retail FX

Stephen Kalayjian launches educational and community platform TradeEZ

TradeEZ has partnered with online broker TradeZero to provide chart overlays that can be accessed on the TradeZero platform. In the future, the firm will be looking to partner with some of the largest firms around the world.

Retail FX

LiteFinance launches new mobile app on Google Play

The mobile app allows users to trade and copy professional traders’ positions and gain access to trading chat rooms.


ECXX taps OneTick for data management and analytics

OneTick is asset class-agnostic and currently has customers across FX, equities, futures, CFDs, FI, and options.

Industry News

$1.5 million: SEC fines BNY Mellon Investment Advisor for misstatements and omissions about ESG

Investors are increasingly focused on ESG considerations when making investment decisions.

Digital Assets

Mercuryo reaches 3 million users amid crypto payments’ US and Asia expansion

“The opportunities for linking crypto and fiat currencies are abundant. From crypto projects that require fiat solutions (like fiat on and off ramps and IBANs), through to crypto for traditional fiat systems, and solutions for fintech companies that enable clients to buy or sell crypto within their own infrastructure.”

Retail FX

Maltese watchdog warns of bogus broker Perfect Choice Trade

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), the regulator responsible for the oversight of the forex  sector in the Mediterranean island, today issued a warning against a forex broker that offers its services without having the authorization to do so.

Digital Assets

Dukascopy warns of fake website impersonating its cryptocurrency

Switzerland’s forex bank and broker, Dukascopy, today warned against a fraudulent website that have been falsely claiming affiliation with its ‎authorized brand.‎


Freetrade raises £30 million to fund business expansion

Freetrade, which calls itself a challenger stockbroker, has raised £30 million in debt financing led by a clutch of existing investors.

Digital Assets

Crypto assets under management at lowest point since July 2021

Crypto investment products registered outflows for a second consecutive week, the bulk of which came from bitcoin funds, according to data from digital asset manager CoinShares.