30 October 2020
We strongly welcome the Government’s proposal to make the electronic execution of company documents and virtual meetings reforms permanent for the benefit and convenience of customers and to improve efficiencies in the processing of critical documents.
The ABA considers:
• Deeds should be able to be created and signed electronically by companies and individuals.
• Electronic signatures rather than wet signatures should be able to be used for a broader range of legal and business documents.
• Remote witnessing should be legally valid.
The ABA suggests that in finalising the proposal an updated analysis of the existing Scheme regime would be of benefit to consider current market practices which may have evolved since the Productivity Commission’s 2015 report ‘Business Set-up, Transfer and Closure’.
The ABA supports the proposed amendments being considered by Parliament expeditiously to give industry ample time to implement changes to comply with the reforms. As such the ABA strongly supports the proposed bill being finalised and introduced into Parliament as soon as practicable.
However, the ABA also asks Treasury to consider making a number of further amendments and clarifying a small number of matters in the Bill. Doing so would enhance the effectiveness and benefit of the Bill for industry.
The ABA supports recently enacted legislative changes to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (AML/CTF Act) that require reporting entities to verify their customers’ identity before providing designated services.
The ABA also supports the provision for special circumstances that justify carrying out applicable customer identification procedures (ACIP) after the commencement of a designated service. While generally in support of this Chapter, the ABA seeks additional clarity over the scope of the proposed special circumstances, particularly in relation to opening an account and the initial deposit.
We also support broader changes proposed to Chapters 21 and 48 of the rules. The submission puts forward a proposal regarding Chapter 80 on the basis that there may be unintended consequences with the current drafting, such as exempting a broader range of activities.