Financial products: licensing & exemptions | HDY - Henry Davis York

Financial products: licensing and exemptions

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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 we can 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.

Our relevant experience

  • Denmark based asset manager

    We acted for a Denmark-based asset manager to address the regulatory hurdles in order to offer their investment management services to the Australian institutional market. We sought individual relief from ASIC and applied for an exemption from the requirement to hold an AFS licence on the basis that the asset manager is regulated by the Danish Financial Services Authority under a regulatory regime which is sufficiently equivalent to the Australian regulatory regime. This involved undertaking a comparative analysis of Australian and Danish law and opening communication channels between the two regulators.

  • Prodigy Investment Partners Limited

    Advising Prodigy Investment Partners Limited, a joint venture between Euroz Limited and Mr Steve Tucker, on the establishment of its first boutique funds management business, Flinders Investment Partners, a specialist Australian small and emerging companies investment manager. HDY advised on structuring and the documentation to establish the boutique and on the establishment of the Flinders Emerging Companies Fund.

  • TH Real Estate Australia Limited (THRE)

    In assisting THRE in their application for an AFSL, our team advised on relevant authorisations required for immediate and future business growth plans and a range of compliance and regulatory issues related to the establishment of the licensed entity, including responsible manager appointments, ongoing licensing obligations and financial requirements applicable under the AFSL. Our assistance facilitated the establishment of THRE's Australian operations, positioning the business for its future growth.

  • Eze Software Group

    We have advised this leading provider of global, multi-asset class investment technology solutions for the front, middle and back office. We analysed the activities of Eze Software Group in Australia and determined, as a result of the financial services regime, its activities constitute the provision of financial services. Our team advised Eze Software of its requirements for an AFSL to carry on business in Australia.

Nikki Bentley


61 422 004 806

61 2 9947 6245

Jon Ireland


61 414 290 163

61 2 9947 6091

Stephen Etkind


61 412 769 209

61 2 9947 6472

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