Financial Services Regulatory Lawyer

Zoe Higgins

LinkedinSpecial Counsel

Zoe joined the Holley Nethercote Sydney office in July 2016, and has extensive experience in the areas of financial services law, consumer credit law, alternative dispute resolution and regulatory matters.  Zoe previously led the systemic issue investigation function of the Credit & Investments Ombudsman, and has also held roles at ASIC and with a major financial institution.

Admitted to Practice


Key Areas of Expertise

  • Financial services law
  • Consumer credit law
  • Regulatory investigations and remediation programs
  • Financial technology

Career Achievements

  • Leading the systemic issue investigations function of the Credit & Investments Ombudsman, and working with a variety of financial services businesses to improve their practices
  • Working in-house for a major financial institution during implementation of the Future of Financial Advice reforms, and assisting a number of large advice licensees with their transition to the new arrangements
  • As an ASIC lawyer, providing a key contact point for industry participants who needed guidance or regulatory relief during implementation of the national credit legislation


  • Master of Laws
  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Bachelor of Arts (Politics & Public Policy)

Favourite Quote

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” – Theodore Roosevelt

My Thoughts

Don’t tick off the regulator: the role of the humble checklist

08 Jun 2022

Misleading and deceptive advertising has been an enduring area of focus for ASIC – and a minefield for the licensees involved.  We often remind our clients that ASIC regularly monitors the advertising of financial products…

‘Generally speaking’ – What to look out for if you’re considering a move to a general advice model

05 Oct 2021

In conducting licensee reviews for our clients, we look at their documented compliance arrangements and speak with their staff.  One recent theme to emerge from many of these interviews can be described as that of…

Financial Services Compliance: Save or Spend?

06 May 2021

When new clients are looking to engage us for the first time, they sometimes ask us for recommendations on what our first task should be. This is obviously more likely to happen where a business…

Credit licensees, lend us your ear on the new best interests obligations for the mortgage broking sector

30 Jul 2020

Since 2009, credit licensees and their representatives have grappled with responsible lending obligations.  Following the passage of legislation in response to recommendations of the Royal Commission, mortgage brokers will now also be required to comply…

Data breaches are big news, but don’t forget the privacy basics

20 Dec 2019

From February 2018 onward, the notifiable data breaches (NDB) regime introduced new obligations for Australian government agencies and private sector organisations that were already subject to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Following the commencement of…

10 easy steps to draft ‘clear, concise and effective’ Statements of Advice (SOA)

17 Oct 2019

Financial advisers are required to provide Statements of Advice (SOAs) that are “clear, concise and effective”. But what does this actually mean in practice? We share some tips and identify some common mistakes based on…

Top 10 Mistakes Credit Licensees are making – and how to prevent them

17 Oct 2019

We have put together a list of the most common mistakes we've seen credit licensees make, and how to avoid them. Although some of these are specific to the credit licensees and the credit industry,…

AFCA: A fair worry

08 Oct 2019

When I was in my second or third year of law school, I remember having to read some EDR scheme decisions to answer the following question: “What role do considerations of fairness play in the…

Proposed Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) Reporting Requirements

24 Nov 2017

  Since the Ramsay Review commenced in 2016, there has been significant progress toward a new framework for External Dispute Resolution (EDR) in Australia.  The new framework will include the establishment of the Australian Financial…