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Yechiel Belfer

Yechiel is a Special Counsel in the Melbourne office. His primary focus is in the regulation of financial services and consumer credit. He has more than 12 years' experience in advising a broad range of clients, ranging from established financial institutions to fintechs, both local and offshore.

On 8 December 2023, the Australian Treasury released the Second Consultation Paper on “Payments System Modernization: Regulation of Payment Service Providers” that provides some further details on the proposed broadening of the licensing and regulatory framework for payment service providers. This follows the Treasury’s initial consultation conducted in June earlier this year.

ASIC Corporations and Credit (Amendment) Instrument 2023/589 was registered on 17 October 2023 to amend ASIC Corporations and Credit (Breach Reporting – Reportable Situations) Instrument 2021/716. The amendments modify the current reportable situations regime applicable to Australian financial services licensees and Australian credit licensees and apply from 20 October 2023.

The Government has released exposure draft legislation to update the Payments Systems (Regulation) Act 1998 (PSRA). This follows consultation conducted in June 2023 to “modernize” the application of the PSRA and to ensure the framework appropriately regulates emerging and future payment functions.

For the fourth time since its inception in September 2016, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has extended the transitional relief period for Foreign Financial Services Providers (FFSPs) for a further 12 months until 31 March 2025. In its introduction of the ASIC Corporations (Amendment) Instrument 2023/588 on 4 August 2023, FFSPs have been offered a further extension on relief from the requirement to hold an Australian financial services license when providing certain financial services.

In announcing its Strategic Plan for Australia’s Payments System, Treasury has provided the clearest direction to date on how it plans to modernize and revamp the regulatory framework for payments in Australia. It outlines the Australian Government’s key priorities and initiatives for modernizing and regulating payments systems in coming years. This announcement follows a very broad consultation on its strategic plan and a number of reviews undertaken in this space.

In brief The assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones addressed the annual Responsible Lending & Borrowing Summit in Sydney. His speech is available here. His speech announced that Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) payment arrangements will be regulated as credit and enforced by the Australian Securities and…

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has provided updated guidance on the updated breach reporting regime applicable to Australian Financial Services Licensees and Credit Licensees. ASIC’s updated guidance is set out in a new version of Regulatory Guide 78, ‘Breach Reporting by AFS Licensees and Credit Licensees’ (RG 78), published 27 April 2023.

The Australian Government has released its Strategic Plan for Payments System: Consultation Paper. It is significant insofar as it demonstrates the current Government’s commitment to reform by creating a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework in respect of payments mirroring international developments. It is also significant in that the paper expressly states that the reform agenda includes implementing a tiered licensing framework for payment services providers. Interested parties are invited to comment on this consultation. Responses are due on 6 February 2022.

On 21 November 2022, the Treasury put out a call for submissions to assist with developing the Federal Government’s regulatory framework for buy now, pay later (BNPL) arrangements. The released options paper seeks to address the purported lack of oversight of the BNPL industry which has so far not been regulated in the same way as other forms of consumer credit under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009. Pending stakeholder review, the paper seeks to strengthen the regulatory framework surrounding BNPL products and depending on the option adopted, may see them subject to the same regulations as credit cards or loan facilities.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has, again, extended the transitional relief period for Foreign Financial Services Providers for a further 12 months to 31 March 2024, through the introduction of the ASIC Corporations (Amendment) Instrument 2022/623 on 28 July 2022. ASIC has stated the Amendment Instrument was introduced to provide certainty for the industry given the lapsing of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Streamlining and Improving Economic Outcomes for Australians) Bill 2022.