Financial Services

Meridian Lawyers has corporate and regulatory expertise in the financial services, capital, credit and investment sectors. A number of our senior lawyers have joined us from large national and international law firms, giving our clients access to a wealth of experience in a boutique legal practice.

Our team has an extensive network with all types of market participants in the financial services sector including a deep understanding of the policy objectives of relevant regulators including APRA, ASIC, ACCC and AUSTRAC.

Our team advises clients across a wide range of financial services businesses, listed companies and other market participants both onshore and offshore.

Financial services expertise

Our financial services expertise includes:

  • financial services and product development
  • regulatory risk and compliance
  • licensing, product disclosure and exemptions/class orders
  • financial sector mergers and acquisitions
  • insurance portfolio transfers
  • capital markets and ASX – equities, shares and derivatives
  • consumer credit, licensing and regulation
  • AML regulation
  • managed investment schemes and wholesale funds
  • foreign exchange and derivatives
  • global financial product distribution and cross border delivery
  • ASIC enforcement, investigation and Markets Disciplinary Tribunal
  • superannuation

Contact  Michael Bracken for help with any queries or for legal advice relating to the Australian financial services regime. For superannuation legal advice, contact Consultant Catherine Osborne.

Financial services insights

  • Financial Services Royal Commission – The Interim Report – Emerging Regulatory Themes

    The Interim Report of the Financial Services Royal Commission was tabled in Parliament on 28 September 2018. There has been much speculation about the potential nature of the findings and recommendations arising from the public hearings. The evidence of misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry, in some…

  • Standard Contract Terms and Conditions for Derivatives Trading and Broker Rights

    In derivatives trading disputes a financial services provider may seek to rely on the terms and conditions of the client agreement and trading practices to close out positions. The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)has indicated that in resolving disputes concerning a broker’s authority to ‘close out’ or manage a margin, that…

  • PI Cover for AFS Licensees – Check your cover as not all PI policies have the same cover

    Recent amendments to Regulatory Guide 126 highlight that financial service providers should regularly review their PI cover to ensure compliance with their regulatory and AFS Licence requirements. In or about August this year, ASIC release findings following a review of professional indemnity (PI) insurance policies held by a sample of…

  • Financial Services insights – October 2017

    Financial Services insights is intended to provide an overview of recent regulatory updates and hot topics of specific relevance to providers and participants in the financial services sector. In our first edition, we provide an overview of current regulatory and risk governance issues for: Financial services managers - ASIC to…

  • ASIC to get stronger powers to ban financial services managers

    On 6 September 2017, Treasury released a consultation paper reflecting the position of the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce which proposes the possible expansion of ASIC’s powers under the Corporations Act to allow it to ban senior managers in the financial sector from performing their functions. The proposed extension of ASIC’s…

  • Crowd-sourced funding for start-ups and SMEs – offering shares to retail investors

    From 29 September 2017, public companies may offer ordinary shares to retail investors under the equity-based crowd-sourced funding regime through a licensed CSF intermediary’s platform. The CSF amendment will allow small to medium-sized businesses and start-ups to raise capital by issuing shares to retail investors without the regulatory burden of…

  • Proposed new Insurance Code of Practice for Superannuation Trustees

    On 20 September 2017, the Insurance in Superannuation Working Group (ISWG) released a draft Insurance Code of Practice for Superannuation Trustees (Code). The objective of the proposed Code is to improve the insurance in superannuation offered to fund members and to regulate group insurance in superannuation, particularly its automatic issuance…

  • On the regulatory radar – copy trading, forex signal trading and binary options trading

    Meridian Lawyers has had a number of inquiries in relation to copy, mirror or shadow trading, forex signal trading and binary options trading and its regulation. Copy trading allows an investor to directly copy the positions taken by another trader and connect a part of their portfolio to the client/investor…

  • Wright and Wrong

    The Federal Court in Victoria recently considered an appeal by ASIC against a decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) which arose out of a rather bizarre set of circumstances.  In the AAT proceedings, ASIC sought a banning order pursuant to Section 920A(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (the…

  • Potential new powers for APRA to
    make non-ADI lender rules

    On 17 July 2017 Treasury released an Exposure Draft of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Non-ADI Lender Rules) Bill 2017 implementing the Commonwealth Government’s 2017–18 Budget proposal to introduce measures to respond flexibly to financial and housing market developments that pose a risk to financial stability. The Draft Bill’s scope recognises…

  • Impact of Federal Budget on the financial services sector

    Overview: The Commonwealth Government’s 2017–2018 Budget initiatives released on 9 May will target three principal regulatory components in the financial services sector over the short and longer term, in particular: reforms to dispute resolution capturing financial services, superannuation, trustee services, banking, finance and insurance expanding the powers of the Australian…

  • New client money reforms for OTC derivatives

    New reforms regulating the application of client monies in retail over-the-counter derivatives transactions will restrict the use of client funds for hedging purposes. The Treasury Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No.1) Bill contains the proposed retail client money reforms in the OTC derivatives sector. The House of Representatives passed the Bill…

  • Relief for crowd-sourced equity funding for start-ups

    Small businesses and start-ups seeking to raise funds through crowd-sourced funding (‘CSF’) from a large number of retail investors may be able to take advantage of exemptions from the licensing and disclosure burdens associated with the public fundraising regime under the Corporations Act. Under the Corporations Amendment (Crowd-sourced Funding) Act…

  • Proposed new statutory accountability for ‘issuers’ and ‘distributors’ of financial products

    In its recent Proposals Paper issued in December 2016, the Commonwealth Government is seeking consultation on proposals to implement a number of financial product recommendations arising from the Financial Services Inquiry (FSI), which involve the potential introduction of new consumer protection measures that will regulate the design and distribution of…

  • AFS licensing relief for foreign financial services providers

    Overseas counterparties to derivatives and foreign exchange transactions:  In September 2003, ASIC introduced Class Order 03/824 which sought to address regulatory concerns that: overseas counterparties to derivatives and foreign exchange transactions may be caught by those counterparties engaging in “inducing conduct under s911D” when issuing financial products to Australian wholesale clients…

  • ACCC to deny authorisation to 16 insurance companies to jointly cap sales commissions

    On 17 February 2017 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission issued a draft determination that proposes to deny authorisation to 16 insurance companies to agree to a cap of 20 per cent on commissions paid to car dealers who sell their add-on insurance products. The ACCC concluded that the arrangement was…

  • Proposed new product intervention power for ASIC

    In its recent Proposals Paper issued in December 2016, the Commonwealth Government is seeking consultation on proposals to introduce a new product intervention power for ASIC, alongside proposed regulatory reforms relating to new design and distribution obligations applying to financial products. The proposed product intervention power will provide a power…

  • New client money reforms for OTC derivatives

    New reforms regulating the application of client monies in retail over-the-counter derivatives transactions will restrict the use of client funds for hedging purposes. The Treasury Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No.1) Bill contains the proposed retail client money reforms in the OTC derivatives sector. The House of Representatives passed the Bill…

  • Meridian Lawyers named in Best Lawyers

    Meridian Lawyers congratulates its Principals following their recognition as amongst the best in Australia in the 9th edition of Best Lawyers®. More than half the firm's Principals are listed in the 2017 edition, demonstrating the team's depth of experience and expertise across the areas of Insurance Law, Litigation, Commercial Law,…

  • Media release: Insurance and financial services law expert joins Meridian

    Meridian Lawyers has announced that leading financial services legal practitioner Michael Bracken will join the firm’s Sydney team on 9 February 2016. With a client base that is complementary to Meridian's, Michael advises insurers, brokers, health funds, health and medical service providers, medical defence organisations, medical indemnity insurers and reinsurers.…

  • Important development for Australian insurers and reinsurers domiciled in Singapore

    On 15 July 2016, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) published its third consultation paper on proposed revisions to the Risk-Based Capital (RBC) framework for insurers. The third consultation paper sets out the revised proposals, which take into account the feedback received from the second consultation paper on MAS's review…

  • High profile insurance lawyer joins Meridian

    Media release: Meridian Lawyers has announced that leading insurance legal practitioner Catherine Osborne joined the firm’s Sydney team in January 2017. Catherine's expertise spans general and life insurance, superannuation and reinsurance with career highlights including class actions and some of Australia’s largest and most sensitive cases involving ASIC, APRA and the ACCC.…

  • AWB: the next instalment…

    Directors are under a continuing obligation to keep informed about the activities of a corporation (ASIC v Flugge). On 15 December 2016, the Supreme Court of Victoria issued its judgment in the latest round of AWB proceedings in which ASIC commenced an action against the former Chairman of AWB Limited…

  • ‘But how can I notify my insurer? All the details are private’

    Posted by Julie Somerville, Principal, Meridian Lawyers: Every health practitioner knows the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of a patient's personal information. However, every year a health practitioner is asked by its professional indemnity insurer to provide details of any circumstances that may give rise to a claim against them.…

What our clients say

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    Source: GIL customer survey January 2014

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    Physiotherapist, Victoria

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    Physiotherapist, Victoria


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