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Experts in Financial Services Law and Regulation

Holley Nethercote’s love affair with financial services law began when Grant Holley and Tim Nethercote secured a large life insurer as a client shortly after its founding in 1995.

Since then, the firm has steadily grown in size and in its engagement across diverse financial services sectors ranging from fintech startups to banks, and from professional associations to government regulators. The firm is now placed as a leading financial services law firm in Australia.

Our lawyers have a diverse background, coming from:

  • Top tier law firms
  • Government regulators
  • External dispute resolution schemes
  • Local and global financial services institutions
  • Our own law clerk program

How we can help

Our team comprises of a number of Australian Financial Services Lawyers who have different financial services backgrounds and expertise, ranging from senior roles at ASIC, CIO & FOS (now known as AFCA) and large legal firms.  We have developed a team of Australian Financial Services Lawyers with expertise to cover all areas of financial services law.

We can provide legal advice on any matter concerning Australian Financial Services Law. This could include:

  • Advice regarding your general licensing obligations (appointments, training, outsourcing, breach reporting, dispute resolution, risk management), structuring or growth strategies.
  • Assistance with drafting or reviewing agreements (e.g: Authorised representative and Intermediary agreements)
  • Assistance with drafting or reviewing customised disclosure documents (FSGs, SOAs, PDSs – we have all the acronyms covered!)
  • Purchase or sale of an AFSL
  • Legal disputes
  • Responding to ASIC investigation or enforcement action
  • Assistance with drafting or reviewing licensee policies such as Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR) policies, Conflicts of Interests etc.


Licensing Advice

We often advise on the following question:

In light of our intended activities, do we require an Australian Financial Services Licence and, if so, what authorisations are required?

When providing legal advice, we look at:

  • the type of business you operate or are intending to operate
  • the AFSL authorisations required for the activities of running your business
  • AFSL requirements and whether or not there are any exemptions in the business you’re operating
  • AFSL compliance obligations that you may need to consider

We also, if applicable, combine that advice with consideration of related but separate legal regimes, including the application of obligations under:


Licensee Reviews

We regularly review a business against its obligations as a licence holder.  Sometimes, the scope of the review also takes into account Commissioner Hayne’s recommendation in the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.  Specifically, Hayne said:

Recommendation 5.6 – Changing culture and governance
All financial services entities should, as often as reasonably possible, take proper steps to:

  • assess the entity’s culture and its governance;
  • identify any problems with that culture and governance;
  • deal with those problems; and
  • determine whether the changes it has made have been effective.

We also undertake risk-based reviews. For example, we may review the end-to-end delivery of personal advice for a risk insurance advice business.


Compliance Committee Meetings

We can help you establish, chair and operate your Compliance Committee.  We can sit on as an “external member” and test your compliance processes and help you show (via your committee minutes) ongoing compliance with many of your key licence obligations.


Dispute Resolution

We can help with:

  • AFCA complaints. Some of our lawyers had senior roles at both the Credit and Investments Ombudsman and the Financial Ombudsman Service (both of which are now called the Australian Financial Complaints Authority).
  • Regulatory Investigations. Some of our lawyers had senior roles at ASIC, and we regularly represent clients who are subject to administrative, civil or criminal action initiated by a Regulator.
  • Litigation. Our team includes seasoned litigators who regularly represent clients in court proceedings.

Licensee Reviews Explained

Ever wondered what’s involved in a Licensee Review?  Hear from Holley Nethercote’s Special Counsel, Zoe Higgins, about the process and different review options we offer businesses.

Sign up to the HN Hub for free to watch the full interview.

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