Introduction

Come 1 July 2012 certain carbon-related instruments will be deemed financial products for the purposes of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

This means that if you provide financial services (e.g. advising, dealing, making a market for or holding) in relation to such carbon-related instruments, you will need to be appropriately licensed, or rely on a relevant exemption.

See our previous Legal Alert – ASIC releases guidance and policy proposals for carbon financial products.  

Do you need to register?

The Corporations Amendment Regulation 2012 (No.1) (Cth) (Regulations) provides a transitional mechanism for people who provide a financial service in relation to specific carbon-related instruments. This transitional mechanism allows you to register with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) between 1 May 2012 and 30 June 2012.  Once you register, you will have until 31 October 2012 to either obtain or vary your Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL).

The table here outlines some relevant dates.

Registration

Under the Regulations, ASIC has limited powers to either approve or reject an application for registration. ASIC may impose conditions or make variations to a registration. ASIC will require an applicant for registration to sign a statement regarding their suitability to be registered before ASIC will proceed with registration. 

If you conduct financial services in relation to carbon-related instruments and do not register between 1 May 2012 and 30 June 2012, you must hold an AFSL (or rely on an exemption) from 1 July 2012.

All providers of financial services in relation to carbon-related instruments must be compliant from 31 December 2012.