The year of the pandemic—2020—witnessed key and strategic product and operational shifts across a range of financial services sectors primarily arising from the confluence of financial stress, customer retention risk, the pandemic as a catalyst for further digitalisation and technological innovation, and increasing regulatory change and pressures resulting from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (Hayne Royal Commission).

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These trends will continue into 2021 and beyond and will impact banking, payments, wealth management, insurance, and managed funds. 

In this report, we analyse these changes and likely regulatory priorities with a view to identifying new developments within relevant sectors and emerging legal and market risks which financial services issuers, providers and participants will need to consider in 2021.

We discuss a number of topical issues facing the financial services industry in 2021, including how the regulatory landscape and ASIC’s enforcement policy has led to a significant increase in claims and investigations, the decrease in the number of registered financial planners and AFSL applications, changing remuneration arrangements, the emerging regulatory risk for financial product design and distribution, technological responses to secure customers and expand markets, managing customer risk, global convergence of regulation and markets, licensing foreign entrants into Australia, and regulatory responses to advances in technology, particularly in payments and financial advice.

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2021.

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