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ASIC
Last Post 20 Jun 2016 02:20 PM by TradingLounge. 8 Replies.
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17 Feb 2015 03:07 PM

    15-026MR ASIC cancels licence of margin foreign exchange provider

    ASIC's continued focus on margin foreign exchange businesses operating in Australia has led to the cancellation of the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of Enfinium Pty Ltd ACN 129 298 442 (in liquidation) (Enfinium). The action follows an ASIC investigation into Enfinium.

    ASIC was concerned Enfinium failed to have adequate risk management systems, in particular, controls on its Meta Trader 4 (MT4) trading platform and a plug in device known as the 'Virtual Dealer.'

    A function of the Virtual Dealer is ability to add a trade execution delay of between 1 to 10 seconds. An execution delay added by the Virtual Dealer could disadvantage clients to the benefit of the broker, if markets moved against the client during any period of delay.

    ASIC's investigation found that during 2010-2013 (Relevant Period), the Virtual Dealer had been changed on 271 occasions; however Enfinium kept no records of those changes.                                

    Certain Enfinium employees had 'Manager' access with special rights for administering MT4 including editing and deleting clients' open positions which, according to the MT4 Administrator User Guide was potentially dangerous.

    ASIC was concerned Enfinium's risk management system was inadequate because:

    1. Enfinium did not maintain records which recorded the configuration of the Virtual Dealer
    2. Enfinium did not monitor the use of the Virtual Dealer, or persons who had access to the Virtual Dealer
    3. there was no training for persons who had the ability to modify the Virtual Dealer
    4. employees of Enfinium had access to enter, modify, close and delete orders on MT4 without secondary authorisation
    5. there was no monitoring of trades placed through 'Manager', and
    6. the Virtual Dealer and 'Manager' access were not identified as risks in Enfinium's risk register.

    The Enfinium AFS licence was cancelled due to Enfinium ceasing to carry on a financial services business, after it appointed administrators on 1 October 2014, and was wound up by creditors on 6 November 2014.

    Due to a lack of adequate records concerning the changes to the Virtual Dealer, ASIC was unable to identify whether a trade execution delay had a negative impact on any client.

    ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said: 'Margin foreign exchange businesses that utilise the Meta Trader trading platform and use the Virtual Dealer plug in, need to ensure they have robust risk management systems. These systems must ensure the client is not disadvantaged to the benefit of the broker. Any tool that has the potential to advantage a broker needs to be carefully managed.'

    Background

    ASIC has recently taken the following action on retail margin FX licensees:

    • shutting down Vault Market Pty Ltd and removing its sole director, Mr MD Anamul Amin, from the financial services industry (refer: 14-309MR)
    • Pepperstone has agreed to cease providing financial services in Japan following inquiries by ASIC that revealed they were not licensed by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (refer: 14-267MR)
    • commencing proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia to restrain Monarch FX, and its former director and general manager, Quinten Hunter, from carrying on a financial services business (refer: 14-342MR)
    • cancelling the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of online FX broker Global Derivative Services Pty Ltd, after an investigation found it failed to comply with a number of its AFS licence obligations (refer: 14-226MR)
    • accepting an enforceable undertaking from online FX broker Forex Financial Services Pty Ltd prohibiting it from operating managed discretionary accounts (refer: <a title="14-036MR ASIC accepts enforceable undertaking from online FX broker operating managed discretionary accounts" href="http://www.asic.gov.au/about-asic/media-centre/find-a-media-release/2014-releases/14-036mr-asic-accepts-enforceable-undertaking-from-online-fx-broker-operating-managed-discretionary-accounts/">14-036MR</a>)</li>

    ASIC has also issued an alert cautioning Australian investors against dealing with the company or group YoutradeFX for trading in margin FX (refer: <a title="14-036MR ASIC accepts enforceable undertaking from online FX broker operating managed discretionary accounts" href="http://www.asic.gov.au/about-asic/media-centre/find-a-media-release/2014-releases/14-036mr-asic-accepts-enforceable-undertaking-from-online-fx-broker-operating-managed-discretionary-accounts/">14-036MR</a>) and issued a more general warning to retail investors about the dangers of FX trading (refer: <a title="13-283MR ASIC warns of dangers of foreign exchange trading for retail investors" href="http://www.asic.gov.au/about-asic/media-centre/find-a-media-release/2013-releases/13-283mr-asic-warns-of-dangers-of-foreign-exchange-trading-for-retail-investors/">13-283MR</a>).</p>

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    02 Apr 2015 02:42 PM
    15-075MR ASIC suspends FX company’s licence

    Following an investigation, ASIC has suspended the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of FX provider AGM Markets Pty Ltd (AGM).

    The move is part of ASIC’s ongoing crackdown on the margin FX industry and work around retail investment in foreign exchange.

    AGM stopped operating a financial services business in May 2014 however has indicated it intends to recommence its business at the end of April 2015. This move follows a number of changes to the company’s name and corporate structure, including members. ASIC has the power to suspend or cancel an AFS licence where a financial services business has ceased to operate.

    ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said, ‘Participants in the margin FX industry can be exposed to turmoil in currency markets and ASIC wants to ensure licensees wanting to be part of this sector are in a position to meet their AFS licence obligations.

    ‘If businesses can’t demonstrate this, ASIC can cancel licences.’

    AGM’s licence has been suspended for six months from 26 March 2015.

    Outcomes in the FX space

    Product distribution and financial market innovation and complexity, which includes the retail margin foreign exchange market, has been identified as a focus area for ASIC. Recent outcomes include:

        warning investors not to deal with Grandegoldens (refer: 15-066MR). It is not licensed to trade in margin FX in Australia.
        cancelling Enfinium’s AFS licence because, among other things, concerns around inadequate risk management systems (refer: 15-026)
        following a surveillance, Calibre Investment changed the way it offers FX services to retail clients (refer: 14-327)
        restraining Monarch FX and its former director and general manager, Quinten Hunter, from carrying on a financial services business (refer: 14-342MR)
        shutting down Vault Market and removing its sole director, Mr MD Anamul Amin, from the financial services industry (refer: 14-309MR)
        warning investors not to deal with YoutradeFX (refer: 14-306MR). It is not licensed to trade in margin FX in Australia
        Pepperstone agreeing to stop providing financial services in Japan following inquiries by ASIC that revealed they were not licensed by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (refer: 14-267MR)
        cancelling the AFS licence of online FX broker Global Derivative Services after an investigation found it failed to comply with a number of its licence obligations (refer: 14-226MR)
        accepting an enforceable undertaking from online FX broker Forex Financial Services prohibiting it from operating managed discretionary accounts (refer: 14-036MR)
        banning Robert Lloyd Wilson from providing financial services and warning the public against dealing with him for his promotion of a program that showed ‘when to get in and when to get out’ of trades. These trades included, among other things, FX trades (refer: 13-282MR).

    ASIC has also issued a more general warning to retail investors about the dangers of FX trading (refer: 13-283MR).

    Background

    AGM has been previously known as Fixi Australia Pty Ltd, Forbes Wealth Services Pty Ltd and Easy Fortune& Ever Wealth Pty Ltd.

    The granting of an AFS licence is not an ongoing right where a company no longer operates within the financial services market.

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    15 May 2015 07:36 AM

    15-108MR ASIC cancels FX company’s licence

    Following an investigation, ASIC has cancelled the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of FX provider Rainbow Legend Group Pty Ltd (Rainbow Legend) for failing to comply with its obligations, including making false and misleading statements.

    The move is part of ASIC’s ongoing crackdown on the margin FX industry and work around retail investment in foreign exchange which has resulted in a number of outcomes recently. There are several more investigations on foot.

    ASIC’s investigation found the company falsely promoted on a number of websites an insurance compensation scheme for clients of up to $2.5 million. The scheme does not exist in Australia, and would not apply to clients based in Australia or to services covered under Rainbow Legend’s licence.

    The use of ASIC’s logo on the websites could have led clients to wrongly believe the company was in some way endorsed or approved by ASIC.

    The company had also not complied with a number of its reporting obligations, including failing to lodge financial statements for the years ended 30 June 2013 and 30 June 2014, and an auditor’s report for two financial years.

    ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said, ‘In a global market it is necessary to recognise that an AFS licence only covers financial services offered in Australia.

    ‘It is also vital an entity holding a AFS licence complies with their reporting requirements to ensure users of financial reports, such as creditors and investors, have the proper information to make informed decisions.’

    Background

    Rainbow Legend promotes itself as a global Forex and CFD brokerage company specialising in derivative trading. It operates the following websites:

    • www.rlg88.com
    • www.rainbowlegendgroup.com
    • www.rlg88.org
    • www.rainbowlegendgroup.com.au

    The cancellation of its licence took effect on 30 April 2015.

    Outcomes in the FX space

    Product distribution and financial market innovation and complexity, which includes the retail margin foreign exchange market, has been identified as a focus area for ASIC. Recent outcomes include:

    • following an investigation, Advanced Markets agreeing to change potential misleading statements on its website (refer: 15-085MR)
    • following an investigation, suspending the AFS licence of FX provider AGM Markets Pty Ltd (AGM) (refer: 15-075MR)
    • warning investors not to deal with Grandegoldens (refer: 15-066MR). It is not licensed to trade in margin FX in Australia.
    • cancelling Enfinium’s AFS licence because, among other things, concerns around inadequate risk management systems (refer: 15-026MR)
    • following a surveillance, Calibre Investment changed the way it offers FX services to retail clients (refer: 14-327MR)
    • restraining Monarch FX and its former director and general manager, Quinten Hunter, from carrying on a financial services business (refer: 14-342MR)
    • shutting down Vault Market and removing its sole director, Mr MD Anamul Amin, from the financial services industry (refer: 14-309MR)
    • warning investors not to deal with YoutradeFX (refer: 14-306MR). It is not licensed to trade in margin FX in Australia
    • Pepperstone agreeing to stop providing financial services in Japan following inquiries by ASIC that revealed they were not licensed by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (refer: 14-267MR)
    • cancelling the AFS licence of online FX broker Global Derivative Services after an investigation found it failed to comply with a number of its licence obligations (refer: 14-226MR)
    • accepting an enforceable undertaking from online FX broker Forex Financial Services prohibiting it from operating managed discretionary accounts (refer: <a title="14-036MR ASIC accepts enforceable undertaking from online FX broker operating managed discretionary accounts" href="http://www.asic.gov.au/about-asic/media-centre/find-a-media-release/2014-releases/14-036mr-asic-accepts-enforceable-undertaking-from-online-fx-broker-operating-managed-discretionary-accounts/">14-036MR</a>)</li>
    • banning Robert Lloyd Wilson from providing financial services and warning the public against dealing with him for his promotion of a program that showed ‘when to get in and when to get out’ of trades. These trades included, among other things, FX trades (refer: 13-282MR).

    ASIC has also issued a more general warning to retail investors about the dangers of FX trading (refer: 13-283MR).

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    26 May 2015 11:22 AM
    Tuesday 26 May 2015

    15-126MR Alleged Ponzi scheme operator faces court

    Following an ASIC investigation, an Adelaide man has faced court accused of deception totalling $12 million.

    Former mortgage broker Michael Samra faced Adelaide Magistrates Court on 22 May 2015 charged with 12 counts of deception.

    ASIC alleges Mr Samra operated a Ponzi scheme with promises of high returns on the investment, some up to 30-48 per cent a year.

    ASIC alleges Mr Samra induced investors to loan his company, ALC Group Pty Ltd, money on the basis that it would be on-lent to unnamed builders or property developers on a short term basis. Approximately $66 million came into the ALC bank account over a seven month period with the majority of funds paid out to investors.

    The charges follow the collapse of Norwood-based ALC Group in 2009 owing liabilities of approximately $40 million.

    Mr Samra, who was not required to enter a plea, was bailed and the matter will return to court on 28 July 2015.

    The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter


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    03 Jun 2015 10:23 AM
    Good morning, Chairman.
    • Thank you for this opportunity to address the Committee.
    • Representing ASIC today are all of our Commissioners –
    o Deputy Chairman Peter Kell; and
    o Commissioners:
    Cathie Armour;
    John Price; and
    Greg Tanzer.

    • Supporting the Commission are Senior Executive Leaders:

    o Joanna Bird;
    o Greg Kirk;
    o Warren Day;
    o Chris Savundra; and
    o Tim Mullaly.



    Chairman, I would like to bring to the Committee's attention some work ASIC is doing around the issue of culture.
    • ASIC is concerned about culture because it is a big driver of conduct in the financial industry.
    • It is a sad fact that bad culture leads to bad conduct and this inevitably leads to poor outcomes for consumers.
    • Given there is a strong connection between poor culture and poor conduct, ASIC thinks culture is a major risk to:
    o investor and consumer trust and confidence; and
    o the fair, orderly and transparent operation of our markets.


    ASIC is planning to incorporate culture into our role as a conduct regulator.
    • Areas we are planning to target are those where poor practices may increase the potential for poor conduct, and therefore increase the risk to investor and consumer trust and confidence.


    We intend to:
    1. first, incorporate culture into our risk-based surveillance reviews;
    2. second, use the surveillance findings to better understand how culture is driving conduct among those we regulate; and
    3. third, communicate to industry and firms where we have a problem with their culture and conduct.
    • Recently, we also announced the '3 Cs' framework on conduct risk for firms, which cover: communication, challenge, and complacency.


    Chairman, where there is a problem with conduct in a particular firm, ASIC can take administrative enforcement action.
    • For example, ASIC can seek to remove the firm’s licence on the basis that it’s not providing its services efficiently, honestly and fairly.
    • But there are only limited ways to address culture directly in the laws ASIC administers.


    For instance, it is addressed in some parts of the Corporations Law and particularly in the Commonwealth Criminal Code.
    • Under s12.2 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, a company can be responsible for a breach of certain commonwealth laws if the company's culture encouraged or tolerated the breach.
    • The Code defines culture as an attitude, policy, rule, course of conduct or practice.
    • We think that when an officer breaches a law ASIC administers - and culture is responsible - then the officers and the firm should be responsible.
    • We think the officer and the firm should be subject to civil penalties and administrative sanctions, as accessories.
    • We think the same offence should be able to be actioned by ASIC in the civil courts just like we can do now for other market misconduct.
    • The standard of proof for criminal and civil matters are different.
    o For a criminal action the standard is beyond reasonable doubt.
    o For a civil action, the standard is the balance of probabilities.


    In response to ASIC’s calls, the Financial System Inquiry recommended a broad review of penalties, and this would be an opportune time to consider these issues.
    • Of course, this in no way suggests ASIC is turning away from criminal prosecution on culture. ASIC is still very focused and very determined on taking criminal action.


    Chairman, when I talk about poor outcomes for customers, this is a polite way of saying people are getting fleeced.
    • And sadly those who get fleeced are usually not necessarily the country's wealthy, but everyday Australians, who might have no more than their house and their super and perhaps a nest egg.
    • That is, those affected by poor culture are usually those who can least afford it.
    • Of course, when culture is poor and investors are inappropriately sold investments that become worthless, the situation will – eventually – right itself.
    • But this is the thing: markets can recover, but often people do not.
    • People are often left with a loss they cannot afford.


    And that is why cleaning up culture is crucial. That is why restoring trust and confidence is crucial.


    On the topic of culture, I am pleased to announce Dr Simon Longstaff, executive director of the St James Ethics Centre, has agreed to join ASIC's External Advisory Panel.
    • This is an excellent appointment for ASIC, as Dr Longstaff has led the centre since 1991 and has advised many significant organisations on culture and ethics.


    Mr Chairman, finally, I wanted to bring to the committee's attention a paper I gave to the Davos Forum in Queensland last weekend.
    • At this forum I discussed two topics:
    o the opportunities for capital markets or markets-based financing to fund economic growth; and
    o the challenges the infrastructure and small-to-medium enterprise (SME) sectors are facing in accessing finance through capital markets.
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    18 Jun 2015 03:03 PM

    15-152MR Cold calling firm FXTS Guru cut off following ASIC concerns

    A cold-calling operation promoting FX and binary option products to investors worldwide has agreed to stop contacting Australian investors following ASIC concerns.

    The outcome is part of ASIC’s ongoing work in the retail OTC derivative space.

    FXTS Guru claimed on its website (www.fxts.guru) it makes up to 3000 calls a day to investors across 40 countries, including Australia, promoting its products and then supplying investors’ contact details to its clients - various FX and binary option issuers.

    ASIC raised concerns with FXTS Guru because FXTS Guru was and is not licensed to provide financial services in Australia. In addition, none of FXTS Guru’s listed clients were licensed to provide financial services in Australia.

    Following these concerns, FXTS Guru has agreed to cease contacting Australian resident investors and has also agreed to change the information on its website to remove references to Australia.

    ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said, ‘Investors need to be extremely wary of any unsolicited calls encouraging them to deal in financial products, especially products such as margin FX and binary options which are complex and risky.

    ‘Always do your own research on a company or individual before you deal with them. You should also seek independent professional or legal advice to ensure you fully understand the products and services being offered and the various risks associated with them.’

    Background

    Consumers can check if a company or individual is appropriately licensed or authorised by searching ASIC’s Professional registers. ASIC’s Moneysmart website also provides useful information on how to avoid scams

    Margin FX and binary options are considered to be financial products in Australia as they are classified as derivatives. An entity doesn’t have to be the one issuing the FX or binary options products to require an Australian financial services (AFS) licence. The mere fact an entity encourages people to consider forex and binary option trading can be enough.

    Outcomes in the retail OTC derivative space

    Product distribution and financial market innovation and complexity, which includes the retail OTC derivative space, has been identified as a focus area for ASIC. Recent outcomes include:

    • following ASIC concerns, FX Primus agreeing to make changes to its websites and to notify its Australian clients that it is not licensed to provide them with financial services (refer: 15-120MR).
    • Cancelling the AFS licence of FX provider Rainbow Legend Group Pty Ltd for failing to comply with its obligations and making false and misleading statements. (refer: 15-108MR)
    • Cancelling the AFS licence of four licensees for failing to lodge annual statements (refer: 15-100MR)
    • following an investigation, Advanced Markets agreeing to change potential misleading statements on its website (refer: 15-085MR)
    • following an investigation, suspending the AFS licence of FX provider AGM Markets Pty Ltd (AGM) (refer: 15-075MR)
    • warning investors not to deal with Grandegoldens (refer: 15-066MR). It is not licensed to trade in margin FX in Australia.
    • cancelling Enfinium’s AFS licence because, among other things, concerns around inadequate risk management systems (refer: 15-026MR)
    • warning investors against dealing with unlicensed binary option provider Opteck.com (refer: 15-024MR)
    • following a surveillance, Calibre Investment changed the way it offers FX services to retail clients (refer: 14-327MR)
    • restraining Monarch FX and its former director and general manager, Quinten Hunter, from carrying on a financial services business (refer: 14-342MR)
    • shutting down Vault Market and removing its sole director, Mr MD Anamul Amin, from the financial services industry (refer: 14-309MR)
    • warning investors not to deal with YoutradeFX (refer: 14-306MR). It is not licensed to trade in margin FX in Australia.
    • Pepperstone agreeing to stop providing financial services in Japan following inquiries by ASIC that revealed they were not licensed by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (refer: 14-267MR)
    • cancelling the AFS licence of online FX broker Global Derivative Services after an investigation found it failed to comply with a number of its licence obligations (refer: 14-226MR)
    • accepting an enforceable undertaking from online FX broker Forex Financial Services prohibiting it from operating managed discretionary accounts (refer: <a href="http://www.asic.gov.au/about-asic/media-centre/find-a-media-release/2014-releases/14-036mr-asic-accepts-enforceable-undertaking-from-online-fx-broker-operating-managed-discretionary-accounts/" title="14-036MR ASIC accepts enforceable undertaking from online FX broker operating managed discretionary accounts">14-036MR</a>)</li>
    • banning Robert Lloyd Wilson from providing financial services and warning the public against dealing with him for his promotion of a program that showed ‘when to get in and when to get out’ of trades. These trades included, among other things, FX trades (refer: 13-282MR).

    ASIC has also issued a more general warning to retail investors about the dangers of FX trading (refer: 13-283MR).

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    06 Aug 2015 03:19 PM
    Thursday 6 August 2015

    15-213MR ASIC bans former representative of Macquarie Equities Limited

    ASIC has banned Mr Shawn Hickman, of Middle Cove, New South Wales, from providing financial services for six years after he engaged in unauthorised discretionary trading on his clients' accounts and created false records.

    Mr Hickman was a representative of Macquarie Equities Limited (MEL) from February 2008 to March 2013.

    ASIC's investigation found that in the period from November 2009 to October 2012, Mr Hickman engaged in discretionary trading on six client accounts. MEL has prohibited its representatives from engaging in discretionary trading on behalf of clients since 2004.

    Mr Hickman breached the financial services laws by holding out and representing to those clients that he was authorised by MEL to operate a discretionary trading account in circumstances where he was not.

    ASIC also found that Mr Hickman created order records that falsely indicated he had received execution only instructions from clients prior to trading when he had not, in circumstances where he had engaged in unauthorised discretionary trading.

    It was further found that Mr Hickman engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct by witnessing the signature of a client he had never met in person and by creating an order sheet which falsely stated that 14 clients called him on the same day between 7.00am and 9.50am and provided him with the same execution only instructions in relation to an options transaction.

    ASIC Deputy Chairman Peter Kell said 'Investors should feel confident that financial advisers are acting within the authority given to them by their licensee at all times and appropriately representing their interests. ASIC will act to remove advisers who fail to do so'.

    MEL is currently conducting a review process to compensate clients of Mr Hickman for any losses suffered as a result of his conduct as part of a broader client remediation process which has been undertaken by MEL as agreed under an enforceable undertaking accepted by ASIC in January 2013 (refer 15-022MR).

    Mr Hickman has a right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.

    Background

    ASIC's action against Mr Hickman is part of ASIC's Wealth Management Project, commenced in late 2014 with the objective of lifting standards in major financial advice institutions.

    Under this project, ASIC is undertaking a number of investigations and proactive risk-based surveillances, with particular focus on compliance in large financial advice businesses. Since the project commenced, ASIC has banned four advisers, including Mr Hickman, from the financial services industry (Brett O'Malley, refer, 15-121MR; Brian Farber, refer 15-178MR and Rebecca Locksley, refer 15-070MR).

    Discretionary trading is an arrangement by which a client gives a financial adviser the discretion to make investments on their behalf without the need to receive instructions from the client before each transaction. Under these arrangements, it is agreed that the financial adviser will use their investment expertise to generate a financial return for the client using the client's funds.

    Execution only refers to a situation in which a client (or their authorised representative) instructs a financial adviser to conduct a specific transaction in a particular product. In these instances, the adviser is simply carrying out the instructions of the client.

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    20 Aug 2015 03:21 PM

    Thursday 20 August 2015

    15-221MR ASIC consults on amendments for the launch of the Chi-X Australia investment product market

    ASIC today released a consultation paper setting out proposed changes to ASIC market integrity rules and various instruments to enable Chi-X Australia Pty Ltd (Chi-X) to commence the quotation and trading of warrants and exchange traded funds (ETFs) on its market.

    Consultation Paper 235 Proposed amendments to ASIC market integrity rules and instruments for the Chi-X investment product market (CP 235) sets out the proposed changes and ASIC's rationale for proposing them.

    The proposals in CP 235 aim to apply a consistent regulatory framework for the quotation and trading of warrants and exchange traded funds (ETFs), in particular, for market participants and investors who may seek to trade these products on the ASX and/or Chi-X markets. ASIC's objective is to maintain existing levels of market integrity and investor protection for these products irrespective of the market on which they are traded.

    Other matters

    CP 235 also proposes some minor changes to:

    • ASIC market integrity rules for the ASX market in response to recent amendments to the ASX Operating Rules, and
    • individual relief instruments for ASX-quoted ETFs and managed fund products.

    ASIC encourages feedback from market participants and other parties that may be affected by the proposals.

    Submissions on CP 235 are due by 7 September 2015.

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    20 Jun 2016 02:20 PM
    CFD Trading Providers Forex Providers Update Form ASIC
    http://www.asic.gov.au/regulatory-r...es-sector/
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