Appointing authorised representatives

Sections 916A, 916B, 916C, 916D, 916E and 916F of the Corporations Act 2001, relate to the appointment and cessation of authorised representatives by Australian financial services (AFS) licensees.

How representatives are authorised

You may authorise a person to provide a specified financial service or financial services on behalf of the licensee by giving the person a written notice (section 916A(1)).

The financial services specified may be some or all of the financial services covered by the licensee's licence (section 916A(2)).

An authorisation may be revoked at any time by the licensee giving written notice to the authorised representative (section 916A(4)).

An employee or director of a licensee is a representative of the licensee and does not need to be authorised (section 910A).

Who may be an authorised representative

Only a body corporate, natural person, partnership (see section 761F) or a group of individuals that act as trustee (see section 761FA) may be an authorised representative of an AFS licensee.

A trust fund is not allowed to be an authorised representative, but the trustees of the fund may be authorised. Generally, an AFS licensee cannot be the authorised representative of another AFS licensee. However, an AFS licensee who is an insurer may authorise an AFS licensee who acts under a binder given by the insurer (sections 916D & E).

Authorised representatives may sub-authorise

Under section 916B of the Act, an authorised representative may sub-authorise individuals to provide financial services on behalf of the licensee, but only where the licensee consents in writing.

A body corporate that is an authorised representative will generally need to sub-authorise its directors and employees in order to provide financial services on behalf of a licensee.

Authorised representative of two or more licensees

One person can be the authorised representative of two or more AFS licensees, but only if each of the licensees consents to the person being the authorised representative of the other licensees, or each of the licensees is a related body corporate of the other licensees (section 916C).

Notifying ASIC of authorisation, variation or revocation of authorisation

ASIC must be notified within 15 business days of the date an authorisation is issued (section 916F(1)). This applies to both licensees authorising representatives and to authorised representatives who sub-authorise (subject to some limited exceptions).

ASIC’s preferred method of notification is by lodging form FS30 online through ASIC’s licensees or authorised representatives portals. When you lodge form FS30 online, the information you submit immediately updates ASIC’s AFS Authorised Representatives Register. This means you can find out the authorised representative's number straight away by searching ASIC’s Register after the form is lodged.

The notification of appointment must also indicate whether the authorised representative is able to appoint further authorised representatives under your licence. If you do not notify ASIC of this, it will not accept any notifications from them of sub-authorisations.

If you change the authorised representative’s authorisation to allow it to appoint representatives after the initial notification to ASIC has been lodged, you must lodge form FS32 to vary the authorisation.

You must notify ASIC within 10 business days using form FS32 if there is a change:

  • In the name and business address of the representative;
  • In the details of the authorisation; or
  • In the details of each other financial services licensee on behalf of whom the representative is an authorised representative.

If you revoke an authorisation, you must notify ASIC within 10 business days of the revocation by lodging form FS31 (s916F(3)).