Financial Products: Licensing & Exemptions

If you’re looking to operate a financial services business in Australia, or distribute financial services or products to clients in Australia, you need to be aware of the complex regulatory requirements that may apply. This includes the requirement to obtain an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) or rely on an applicable exemption.

Whether you are entering the Australian market from Sydney or Singapore, Brisbane or Bahrain, HDY’s financial services team can unravel the complex licensing and exemption rules, help you set up to operate in the Australian market, and to go on to develop, establish and distribute financial products. Our team’s extensive experience, and deep understanding of the regulatory requirements and the Australian market enable us to guide you through all stages of the financial services licence application and exemption process.

How can we help


We can help you navigate the authorisations required by ASIC to obtain an AFSL, including considering the adequacy of compliance systems and personnel as well as the preparation of the policies and documents that satisfy ASIC's licensing requirements.

The HDY team can help you to apply for a new AFSL, or to vary an existing AFSL. Our clients include global and Australian fund managers (both new and established), Australian retail and investment banks, superannuation funds, brokers and other market participants.


There are a number of exemptions from the licensing requirements, some of which apply automatically and others upon application. Foreign fund managers should take particular note of the exemptions available to them (including those regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the UK Financial Conduct Authority, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (the Commission for the Supervision of the Financial Sector) and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission). We represent a large number of foreign financial services providers, and have successfully advised on which exemptions are relevant them, and obtained exemptions for our clients by managing the exemption process.

Case Study

We have assisted Henderson Global Investors with the establishment and growth of its retail investment management business in Australia. From establishment in March 2013, Henderson has grown to now manage more than $171.3bn in assets across a broad range of asset classes.

Our assistance has included supporting the inception and continued growth of the business, including by:

  • Assisting with obtaining Henderson's AFS licence, advising on the preliminary compliance and regulatory infrastructure and negotiating material outsourcing agreements
  • Advising on acquisitions of funds management businesses 90 West Asset Management and H3 Global Advisors and on the integration of their funds into Henderson
  • Advising on new funds including preparing the constituent documentation, reviewing the product disclosure statement, chairing the due diligence committee and liaising with the Australian regulator in relation to the registration of the funds
  • Advising on the integration of the Perennial funds on to the Henderson platform including change of responsible entity of 11 registered funds from IOOF to Henderson as part of its acquisition of fund managers, Perennial Fixed Interest Partners Pty Ltd and Perennial Growth Management Pty Ltd.
Nikki Bentley

I understand the financial services industry and thrive on helping our clients in this industry succeed.

Jon Ireland

I constantly strive for technical excellence and commercial outcomes that add real value for my clients.

Meet some of our team

Our Financial Products: Licensing & Exemptions Experience

Global fund managers

Advised numerous offshore fund managers on the establishment and offering of investment products and strategies into the Australian market. This includes advice on a broad range of asset classes including equities, real estate and alternatives offered to both retail and wholesale investors. Our initial advices on entering the market have allowed numerous managers to successfully test the local investment opportunities, in several cases leading to the establishment of permanent operations and domestic funds offerings in Australia.

Global Investment Bank

Advising a Global Investment Bank on the impact of reforms to privacy law in Australia on its enterprise-wide operations, including a review of all its client-facing documentation, arrangements with suppliers and policies and procedures. This involved revising internal and external-facing policies, contracts and documentation for compliance with the reforms, and providing recommendations for changes to internal operations and procedures to facilitate such compliance (which recommendations were subsequently implemented).

Global wealth business

Advising a global wealth business on the regulatory implications of offering a new innovative automated trading solution. The solution represents a new business direction for the client and a significant extension of its current offering to customers in Australia. Our support enabled the client to meet ASIC's requirements in relation to the new business model, including where automated trading and digital advice offerings require a tailored regulatory outcome.