June 17, 2019

June 14, 2019

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Design & Distribution Bill: A Reflection of the Current "Consumer-Centric" Climate

Misaligned advisor interests.  Consumer disengagement.  Low financial literacy in the face of complex documents.

These themes echo throughout the revised Treasury Laws Amendment (Design and Distribution Obligations and Product Intervention Power) Bill (Bill) released by the Australian Government in late July 2018.  These issues have also been recently ventilated in the Banking Royal Commission. Key changes to the Bill include expanding the scope of regulated products and criminal penalties have been increased for certain breaches.

While the protection of consumers lies at the heart of this Bill, it poses real challenges for issuers and distributors.  In particular, the Government’s power to stop distribution of financial products raises significant practical difficulties.  Moreover, the increased criminal penalties are indicative of the seriousness with which breaches will be treated.  While the changes will not come into force for at least two years, distributors and issuers should begin preparing for the implications of this Bill now.

Elise Hamblin also contributed to this piece.

Copyright 2019 K & L Gates


About this Author

Jim Bulling, KL Gates, financial services lawyer, funds management attorney

Mr. Bulling's practise focuses on banking and financial services and he acts for a range of entities in the financial services and funds management industry. His clients include Australian and international investment managers, banks, trustees of superannuation funds, wholesale and retail investment trusts, funds management companies and financial planning groups.

His main areas of focus include banking and financial product disclosure issues, financial services compliance issues, financial product distribution issues and superannuation and...

Daniel Knight, KL Gates, financial services industry lawyer, retail fund managers attorney
Senior Associate

Mr. Knight is a commercial and regulatory lawyer with a focus on the financial services industry. He advises a range of wholesale and retail fund managers, banks, financial advisers, superannuation fund trustees and other financial services firms.

Mr. Knight concentrates on commercial transactions in the industry and on advising clients about Australian licensing, disclosure, and compliance obligations. He regularly advises international fund managers about offering their products in Australia.

Mr. Knight also has extensive experience advising multinational organisations about bribery, corruption, and anti-money laundering (AML) issues and the governance and compliance measures necessary to prevent these issues from arising.