2019 Australian IPO review: Regulatory developments

  • ASIC and ASX are focused on enhancing the integrity and corporate governance practices of entities seeking to conduct IPOs.
  • Directors should be aware of their duties and be actively involved in the IPO process.
  • Companies seeking to conduct an IPO should consider disclosing climate change risk in its prospectus.

In 2019, ASIC and ASX have had a continued focus on enhancing the integrity and corporate governance practices of entities seeking to conduct IPOs, with ASX’s amendments to the Listing Rules and the Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations coming into effect and ASIC issuing various reports and amended guidance calling for strengthened conflict management and disclosure practices.

Australian regulators are also focused on heightening protection for retail clients, which has implications for the marketing of and distribution of securities for IPOs.

ASIC

ASIC acquires new product intervention powers

On 6 April 2019, ASIC acquired broad new product intervention powers which ASIC can use in relation to initial and secondary capital raisings where ASIC identifies actual or likely ‘significant detriment’ to retail clients or consumers. 

These new powers have been a long time coming. They were recommended by the Financial System Inquiry in 2014 and have now been inserted into the Corporations Act 2001 and the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 by the Treasury Laws Amendment (Design and Distribution Obligations and Product Intervention Powers) Act 2019.

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