In our first edition of the year, we venture into new territory with submission dates for various system reviews and the commencement of new legislation fast approaching.

One of the hottest topics around town is the Federal Government’s Financial Systems Inquiry (FSI). In this edition we look at the legacy left by the Wallis Inquiry and the directive that the Federal Government has given the FSI when conducting the current review. Whether you support the current regulatory philosophy and framework or would like to advocate for change, the deadline for submissions is 31 March 2014, so don’t miss out on having your say. 

Another deadline looming in the near future is the reporting date for the Senate Inquiry into the performance of ASIC. It is expected that the Senate report will summarise its view of ASIC's performance, advise on ways to improve the body, and propose alternative funding models. With intense public scrutiny into inquiry submissions, the report will be keenly reviewed by practitioners, corporates, investors and smaller stakeholders alike at the end of May. ASIC, however, has been soldiering on with significant enforcement outcomes since the inquiry began, and we take a closer look at some of these actions. 

Staying on ASIC, it has also recently published 'Report 384: Regulating Complex Products', following the publication of the International Organisation of Securities Commission’s toolkit of regulatory options for retailed structured products in December last year. The team summarises the report and looks at the perceived risks for retail investors considering these complex products. 

In the credit world, the Privacy Act’s new Australian Privacy Principles (APP) came into force on 12 March 2014. Having spoken to various organisations in a range of industries, it’s become evident that there are some organisations that provide forms of credit, and that were not previously caught under the old National Privacy Principles (NPP), that may now be captured by the new Act. If companies are unaware that they’re caught by the new Act, they could be in for an unpleasant knock on the door from the Information Commissioner. 

Finally, the Federal Government has issued a proposals paper for the mandatory central clearing of interest rate derivatives denominated in USD, EUR, JPY and GBP, seeking stakeholder views before the mandate is implemented. However, the paper also provides guidance on the new Government’s thinking on the local implementation of G20 OTC derivative reform, and the team looks at what direction this may take in 2014.

2014 promises to be an eventful year with the FSI and G20 likely to dominate the headlines. In amongst that, we will continue to see implementation challenges for companies dealing with the likes of FoFA and the APP, while companies will also be grappling to prepare themselves to deal with the latest developments in liquidity rules and FATCA. It makes for an exciting 10 months to the end of the year and we look forward to keeping you updated as 2014 progresses.