ASIC announces the extension of temporary COVID-19 relief for capital raisings

The relief, which also applies to financial advice, was spurred by COVID-19’s continued impact on the economy

ASIC announces the extension of temporary COVID-19 relief for capital raisings

ASIC has announced the extension of the temporary relief offered to companies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the economy.

The relief was launched on 31 March, and was geared towards capital raising efforts and financial advice. The capital raisings relief helped COVID-19-affected listed companies to raise equity rapidly and at less cost while continuing to protect investors.

“The temporary relief enables certain ‘low doc’ offers (including rights offers, placements and share purchase plans) to be made to investors without a prospectus, even if they do not meet all the normal requirements,” ASIC said.

The financial advice relief was launched on 14 April, and is associated with the COVID-19 early release of superannuation scheme that was extended by the government.

“The financial advice relief and the no-action position for superannuation trustees providing ‘intra-fund advice’ aims to assist industry in providing consumers with affordable and timely advice during the COVID-19 pandemic,” ASIC said.

Businesses have benefited from the ASIC relief since its inception, including maltster United Malt.

To facilitate the extension, the commission registered the ASIC Corporations (Amendment) Instrument 2020/862, which indicates that:

  • The earlier amendment to the ASIC Corporations (Share and Interest Purchase Plans) Instrument 2019/547 will now be repealed on 1 January 2021 (instead of 2 October)
  • The ASIC Corporations (Trading Suspensions Relief) Instrument 2020/289 will now be repealed on 1 January 2021 (instead of 2 October)
  • The ASIC Corporations (COVID-19 – Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2020/355 will now be repealed on 15 April 2021 (instead of 15 October)

The no-action position has also been extended until 31 December.

“ASIC will continue to monitor the appropriateness of these temporary relief measures in light of the impacts of COVID-19 on capital markets and on the demand for financial advice,” the commission said. “If ASIC considers it appropriate to end the relief before the expiration dates or to further extend it, ASIC will give sufficient notice before any early repeal or extension is implemented.”

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