David Court


David is a Partner working across the financial services and commercial practice areas of the firm.  He has more than 30 years of technical and practical experience in corporate, commercial and financial services law.  His particular expertise relates to the management and public offering of superannuation and managed investment products.

Admitted to Practice


Key Areas of Expertise

  • Over 30 years of technical and practical experience in corporate, commercial and financial services law.
  • Particular expertise in relation to the management and public offering of superannuation and managed investment products.
  • Ongoing interest in taxation law.

Career Achievements

  • Initially, David worked as a solicitor at Mallesons Stephen Jaques before moving to a succession of in-house legal roles at Mercer Australia, a market leading financial services organisation providing consulting, outsourcing and investment solutions to its clients, as well as operating its own investment and retirement products.
  • At Holley Nethercote, David has been involved in all areas of the legal practice with particular focus on providing advice in relation to borderline applications of the financial services laws and the preparation of specialised commercial documentation.


  • Law and Commerce degrees from the University of Western Australia
  • Long-time member of the Taxation Institute of Australia
  • Member of the SMSF Association (SPAA)

Favourite Quote

“Do not use a big word when a diminutive one will suffice!”

My Thoughts

Wholesale Client Eligibility – Sophisticated Investor and Individual Wealth Tests

25 Aug 2023

In recent years, the issue of wholesale client eligibility has been attracting increased attention as an area in need of reform. Of particular interest are recent developments in relation to the sophisticated investor and individual…

Pulling her punches? The Quality of Advice Review and Wholesale Clients

05 Apr 2023

  In recent years, there have been a number of reviews into various aspects of the regulation of the financial services industry.  The wholesale client eligibility rules is one area that is attracting increased attention…

Who’s in control? Changes of control to a licensed entity and your obligations

09 Jan 2023

In this article, we examine the obligation of AFSL holders and credit licensees to determine whether there has been a change of control in their entity, and subsequently report any changes to ASIC. ASIC has…

CCIV – A new structure for collective investments

02 May 2022

From 1 July 2022, a new type of investment product – the Corporate Collective Investment Vehicle (CCIV) – will be able to be established by Australian fund managers. In this article, we take a look…

Are changes coming to the wholesale client eligibility rules?

01 Feb 2022

In a previous article we looked at various regulatory issues and concerns which have arisen with the current legal definitions of wholesale and retail clients under the Corporations Act 2001 (the "Act") and how the regulators might…

Liability of a Responsible Manager – Who’s responsible when things go wrong?

06 Aug 2021

  The Responsible Manager (RM) of a licensee plays a key role under the financial services and credit licensing regimes. However, many RMs are concerned as to their responsibilities and liabilities when things go wrong. …

RSE Licensees – Changes in Financial Services Obligations for Superannuation Funds

22 Jul 2021

  A number of changes to the financial services laws have taken effect in 2021 which are of particular application to trustees of superannuation funds which are not self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs). For some trustees,…

What are the Liabilities of Directors of AFSL Holders?

18 Sep 2020

When considering regulatory compliance and enforcement in the financial services industry, it is common to focus on the entity that holds the Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) and the large number of specific obligations that…

RG 132: Financial Services Compliance Systems For Wholesale Managed Funds

05 Aug 2020

In July 2018 ASIC issued its Regulatory Guide 132: Funds Management: Compliance and Oversight (“RG 132”) which looks into what constitutes an effective and responsive compliance management system for a fund manager under the financial…

Compliance – What is it good for?

29 May 2020

Financial services licensees will be well aware that they are required to comply with the financial services laws and the conditions of their licence.  They are also required to self-report to ASIC significant breaches of…

Retail vs Wholesale Clients – Regulatory Concerns and Responses

23 Jan 2020

While there have been some changes to the wholesale client eligibility criteria since 2004, we appear to be reaching a point where a more fundamental reassessment of the distinction between wholesale and retail clients is…

Paying a member’s financial advice fees out of a super fund

29 Nov 2019

An issue that regularly arises in relation to the provision of financial advice is whether the cost of that advice can be paid out of a superannuation fund of which the client is a member.…

12 Problem Words for Financial Services Promotional Materials

25 Oct 2019

Whatever your financial services business model, you are legally responsible for the content of the promotional material that you publish or otherwise make available in the public arena. This blog looks at the general principles…

APRA regulatory reporting for general insurance providers

17 Oct 2019

Are you an AFSL holder and authorised to deal in general insurance? If so, you should be aware of your obligations to provide data to APRA every six months by lodging a Form 701. What…

Establishing an SMSF – 7 reasons to use a corporate trustee

05 Oct 2019

Like most professional advisers, we are strongly of the view that a self-managed superannuation fund ("SMSF") should have a corporate trustee. This article looks at the trustee requirements for SMSFs and sets out a number…

Modern slavery laws and their impact on the financial services industry

30 Aug 2019

Readers may be forgiven for thinking that the practice of slavery is now only of historical interest – having been largely abolished in the 19th century. While that is true of what is called chattel…

The Royal Commission and Wholesale Clients – A Missed Opportunity?

14 Feb 2019

The continuing increase in retail client regulation over recent years (such as the FOFA reforms) and the increasing ease with which clients can meet the wholesale client eligibility tests has led many financial services businesses…

Is the end coming for the Sophisticated Investor?

22 Oct 2018

  The distinction between wholesale and retail clients is a fundamental part of the financial services laws.  The continuing increase in retail client regulation over recent years (such as the FOFA reforms) and the increasing…

Why Australian Financial Services Licensees absolutely MUST prioritise cyber-resilience

17 Nov 2017

  12-18 November is Fraud Awareness Week, and once again, cyber-resilience is a hot topic.  As a licensee, do you wonder what you legally have to do?  Before we tell you, let’s start, as Simon…

Certified Wholesale – SMSFs and Accountant’s Certificates

14 Oct 2017

  On 7 July 2017, ASIC issued a media release concerning action that it had taken over a particular example of perceived inappropriate use of accountant's certificates to treat investors as wholesale clients. Although ASIC…

What the Storm Financial case told us about wholesale client eligibility

22 Nov 2016

  The decision of the Federal Court in the Storm Financial case (or, to be legally precise, the case of ASIC v Cassimatis (no.8) [2016] FCA 1023) considers a number of legal issues concerning the…

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