Japan

201 institutional investors have signed up to Principles for Responsible Institutional Investors. The Council of Experts Concerning the Japanese Version of the Stewardship Code, which published the Principles for Institutional Investors in 2014, requested that the Financial Services Agency (FSA) publish and periodically update the list of institutional investors who announced their acceptance of the Code. On September 11, 2015, the FSA published the updated version of that list. The FSA plans to update the list on a quarterly basis, with the next update scheduled for early March 2016. Those who newly intend to accept the Code should notify the FSA by the end of February. (12/11/2015) Stewardship Code.

Australia

ASIC consults on ‘sunsetting’ class orders: financial reporting relief for certain small proprietary companies and registered foreign companies. ASIC announced that it has released a consultation paper (CP 248) proposing to remake two class orders that are due to expire on April 1, 2017. The class orders affect financial reporting by small proprietary companies controlled by a foreign company and by registered foreign companies. Submissions on CP 248 are due on February 29, 2016. (12/22/2015)

ASIC releases draft guidance on review and remediation programs and proposed changes to recordkeeping requirements for advice licensees. ASIC announced that it has released a consultation paper (CP 247) proposing guidance on review and remediation programs conducted by Australian financial services (AFS) licensees that provide personal advice. The consultation paper also proposes clarifications to the record-keeping requirements for AFS licensees relating to the best interests duty. The draft guidance sets out how an effective review and remediation program should be designed and operated and how such a program operates alongside other key consumer compensation obligations, namely the internal and external dispute resolution obligations. (12/16/2015)

ASIC consults on addressing ‘sunsetting’ securitization class order. ASIC announced that it has released a consultation paper (CP 246) proposing to maintain relief that ASIC has previously provided from the requirement to obtain an Australian financial services license for certain entities. This relief is due to expire (sunset) on April 1, 2016. ASIC found that the class order is operating effectively and efficiently, and continues to form a necessary and useful part of the legislative framework. However, ASIC proposed to omit the condition that currently requires an AFS licensee to enter into an irrevocable deed poll agreeing to be liable for the securitization entity’s acts or omissions. Submissions on CP 246 are due on 29 January 2016. (12/16/2015)

ASIC remakes instruments on takeovers and schemes of arrangement.Following public consultation, ASIC has remade six legislative instruments that facilitate takeovers and schemes of arrangements. The relief applies to certain domestic and foreign takeover bids, accelerated rights issues, investor directed portfolio services (IDPS), share buy-backs and downstream acquisitions. 

(12/15/2015) ASIC press release.

ASIC implements clearing regime in Australia for OTC derivatives. ASIC has released rules implementing Australia’s mandatory central clearing regime for over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives of financial institutions - the ASIC Derivative Transaction Rules (Clearing) 2015 and explanatory statement. (12/14/2015) ASIC press release.

Hong Kong

SFC authorizes first batch of funds under Mainland-Hong Kong Mutual Recognition of Funds initiative. The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) granted authorization for the first batch of four Mainland funds under the Mainland-Hong Kong Mutual Recognition of Funds (MRF) initiative for public offering in Hong Kong. The SFC also welcomed the approval by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) of the first batch of three Hong Kong funds for public offering on the Mainland market. (12/18/2015) SFC press release.