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The Search for the “Holy Grail” of Fee Disclosure Continues – Yet Another Change to ASIC’s Fee and Cost Disclosure Regime for Financial Products

Mar 2020

In late 2019, ASIC’s seemingly endless journey in search of a ‘better’ fee disclosure regime took yet another turn.

On 29 November 2019, ASIC implemented ASIC Corporations (Disclosure of Fees and Costs) Instrument 2019/1070 (the New Legislative Instrument)1 and released a newly updated Regulatory Guide 97 (New RG 97)2 that collectively revamp the disclosure regime for fees and costs of financial products, yet again.

There is a transitional period for the new regime. In particular, disclosure requirements under the current RG 97 (Existing RG 97 and ASIC Class Order 14/1252)3 will be replaced by the New RG 97 effective from 30 September 2020 for Product Disclosure Statements (PDS), and 1 July 2021 for periodic statements. Prior to the commencement dates, requirements under the Existing RG 97 will continue to apply.

To summarise the timing for implementation of the New RG 97:

This is set to be the first of two major shifts by ASIC on the rules around disclosure with the second focussing on Design and Distribution Obligations for financial products. More information on these obligations will be provided in an upcoming article.

Why has the fee disclosure been updated again?

As discussed in our earlier article4, ASIC has been reviewing the fees and costs disclosure regime with a view to encouraging simplified, transparent, and consumer-friendly disclosure, while ensuring that compliance is not too onerous for product issuers. In essence, ASIC is seeking to reach the ‘Holy Grail’ of fee disclosure.

Significantly, ASIC’s ‘world view’ is that an improved disclosure regime would keep product issuers accountable and transparent with respect to fees and costs charged to members, thus working toward the statutory target of “clear, concise and effective” disclosures.

What has changed?

We have briefly summarised the key changes applying to fee disclosures in PDS for managed investment schemes in the New RG 97 below:

Next steps

Product issuers should review the disclosure changes and be prepared to ensure compliance from September 2020 onwards. Please don’t hesitate to contact Hazelbrook Legal if we can be of any assistance in interpreting or applying the new regime.

Material in this article is available for information purposes only and is a high level summary of the subject matter. It is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice. You should first obtain professional legal advice prior to taking any action on the basis of any information contained in this article. This article is copyright. For permission to reproduce this article please email Hazelbrook Legal: enquiry@hazelbrooklegal.com

References

  1. ASIC Corporations (Disclosure of Fees and Costs) Instrument 2019/1070
  2. RG97 (December 2019) Disclosing fees and costs in PDSs and periodic statements
  3. RG97 (March 2017) Disclosing fees and costs in PDSs and periodic statements
  4. ASIC puts spotlight on fees and costs disclosure regimes for managed investment and superannuation schemes
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