Virtual Governance and Risk Management Forum 2020 – regulatory efforts in response to COVID-19
Holding Redlich was delighted to sponsor the Virtual Governance and Risk Management Forum 2020 held from 11-12 May 2020.
The theme for this year's forum was: Agility. Resilience. Impact, reflecting the challenges 2020 has brought to Australian businesses.
As a chair of the Regulator's Panel, I was joined by Kevin Lewis FGIA, Chief Compliance Officer, Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), John Price, Commissioner, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), The Honourable Dr Gary Johns, Commissioner, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
Each of the regulators represented on the panel provided insights into how their organisation has responded to COVID-19 issues, ensuring flexibility in regulatory obligations for businesses while maintaining the integrity of the system. The panel's insights on the regulatory efforts required to meet the challenge of COVID-19, market volatility, and the challenge of resiliency and stability. We highlight the key insights from each representative below.
Kevin Lewis, Chief Compliance Officer for the ASX explored:
- inherent issues with continuous disclosure, and highlighted the additional scrutiny the ASX was applying to ensure disclosures were accurate and timely arising from a surge in misleading premature market announcements
- ASX guidance generally
- capital raising issues from an ASX perspective.
ASX updates on COVID-19 can be found here.
John Price, Commissioner with ASIC, discussed:
- working with the ASX to deal with capital raising and maintaining the integrity of the market while allowing the market to operate
- relief provided for Annual General Meetings and financial reporting, noting that ASIC will be monitoring issues until at least 30 September and that ASIC is currently considering what relief may be granted for companies with 30 June 2020 financial year ends, and foreshadowed an announcement shortly on that point
- ensuring that markets remain fair, orderly and transparent, including ongoing monitoring of companies taking advantage of relief for capital raising, and ensuring fairness between stakeholders.
ASIC's comprehensive coverage can be found here.
Recognising that the role of charities in civil society has never been more pertinent, the Honourable Dr Gary Johns shared some insights from the ACNC on:
- managing compliance settings by providing relief in terms of a blanket extension of time to meet compliance obligations such as the annual information statement and the
- challenges faced by charities seeking to pivot their activities to provide relief in the COVID-19 crisis.
He spoke to the need for charities to act within their constituent documents and ensure there is an audit trail of decision making where deviations are made. The ACNC resources are available here.
This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.