FSC Guidance Notes

FINANCIAL SERVICES GUIDANCE NOTES

Compliance with the Financial Services Council’s ("FSC") Guidance Notes is voluntary but strongly encouraged. The Guidance Notes provide a guide to what is considered to be industry best practice in certain areas. In some cases Guidance Notes become industry Standards over time.

Below are a list of all generally available FSC Guidance Notes. To access FSC Standards, click here.

NOTE:We are currently in the process of updating all our Guidance Notes to reflect changes occurring as a result of our renaming as the Financial Services Council. This will take some time. In the interim, however, FSC members are encouraged to continue to utilise the Guidance Notes as best industry practice.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 1

GLOBAL INVESTMENT PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

The purpose of this Guidance Note is to assist Financial Services Council members in following the global standard for the presentation of historical investment manager performance through adoption of the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS).


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 2

FINANCIAL SERVICES COUNCIL BLUE BOOK – CORPORATE GOVERNANCE: A GUIDE FOR FUND MANAGERS AND CORPORATIONS

The guidelines are published to assist Financial Services Council members to promote improved company performance by ensuring Australian companies have sound corporate governance structures. This Form has been issued by Financial Services Council and the FPA as guidance to assist reporting entities in meeting their obligations to identify clients under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006. Neither Financial Services Council nor the FPA warrant that the Form meets all relevant obligations under the law.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 3

FINANCIAL REPORTING (REPEALED)

This Guidance Note has been repealed due to the harmonisation and adoption of international accounting standards by the AASB.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 4

INCORRECT PRICING OF SCHEME UNITS (REPEALED)

This Guidance note has been repealed and replaced by Standard No. 17.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 5

INDUSTRY TERMS & DEFINITIONS

The main objective of standardising industry terminology is to enable investors to have a clearer understanding of financial Products and services when making investment decisions; to enable fund managers and consultants to interpret information in a like manner and produce statistics/material that is accurate and useful; and to improve efficiency within organisations when developing Offer Documents.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 6

MORTGAGE TRUSTS DISCLOSURE

The main features of this Guidance Note are: to establish minimum disclosure requirements relating to Scheme's who invest predominantly in Mortgage Investments; to standardise the framework by which certain information is considered by Scheme Managers as it relates to Mortgage Trusts; and to specify minimum disclosures in Scheme Offering Documents and financial statements.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 7

PERSONAL TRADING

The main features of the Guidance Notes are to: specify the principles to be adopted in relation to the conduct of Personal Trading; provide guidance in the interpretation and application of those principles; standardise the practices and procedures relating to the conduct of Personal Trading; and specify the basis of suitable compliance of such Personal Trading activities.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 8

RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

This main features of this Guidance Note are: to specify the principles to be adopted in relation to the conduct of a Related Party Transaction between a Scheme and a party related to the Scheme or in Scheme interests by, or on behalf of, a Related Party; to provide guidance in the interpretation and application of those principles; to standardise the practices and procedures relating to the conduct of Related Party Transactions; and to specify the basis of proper disclosure of such Related Party Transactions.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 9

REPORTING TO SUPERANNUATION SCHEMES BY SERVICE PROVIDERS

To assist service providers in the presentation of financial and taxation information to Superannuation Scheme Trustees; To ensure that sufficient information is given to Trustees, so that they may efficiently and effectively perform their duties; and To specify the minimum Trustee reporting requirements and/or industry best practice.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 10

BROKERAGE ARRANGEMENTS (PREVIOUSLY CALLED SOFT DOLLAR DEALING)

The main features of this Guidance Note are: to specify the principles to be adopted in relation to Investment Brokerage arrangements; to provide guidance in the interpretation and application of those principles; and to specify the basis for disclosure of Investment Manager Brokerage Arrangements.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 11

GROUP INSURANCE TAKEOVER TERMS

The main features of this Guidance Note are: to provide guidance to Financial Services Council members when cover under a current Group Insurance Policy is transferred to another insurer; and to specify when an incoming insurer becomes responsible for claims, and the acceptance terms on which it takes over the cover.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 12

EXECUTIVE EQUITY PLAN (PREVIOUSLY CALLED EXECUTIVE SHARE & OPTIONS SCHEME GUIDELINES

This Guidance Note was recently updated in April 2007. Guidance Note No. 12 provides guidance for Boards and shareholders regarding the development of equity plans that aim to drive improved corporate performance and thereby increase shareholder value. The guidelines specify key principles that Boards should consider in designing incentive plans and the process for shareholder approval of the plans.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 13

EMPLOYEE SHARE OWNERSHIP PLAN (PREVIOUSLY CALLED EMPLOYEE SHARE SCHEME)

This Guidance Note was recently updated in April 2007. Guidance Note No. 13 provides guidance for Boards and shareholders regarding the development of employee ownership and incentive plans that aim to drive improved company performance and thereby increase shareholder value. The guidelines specify key principles that Boards should consider when designing these plans and the process for shareholder approval of the plans.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 14

CLAIMS GUIDELINES

These guidelines are designed to provide a framework within which Insurers may choose to arrange their income protection claim processes in managing these types of claims.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 15

UNDERWRITING GUIDELINES

The underwriting guidelines are specific to disability income insurance. They have been designed to provide a framework within which insurers may conduct their underwriting processes for mental health conditions.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 16

SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT DISCLOSURE (REMOVED)

Please refer to ASIC Guidelines on socially responsible investment disclosure released 17 December 2003.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 17

swimEC FUND NOMINATION FORM (ARCHIVED)

The Fund Nomination Form is designed to be pre populated by a Superannuation Provider (SP) to aid SPs provide employees with all the bank account details required to enable superannuation choice of Fund. The Complying Fund letter, from the trustee, provides an employee with the required 'complying fund' and 'ability to accept contributions' statements.

Archived until removed, likely to be removed after internal governance process has taken place as these documents are historic.  If a copy is required please contact Paul Callaghan e: pcallaghan@fsc.org.au. 


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 18

MANAGEMENT EXPENSE RATIO (REPEALED)

REPEALED - Guidance Note has been replaced by the Government’s Enhanced Fee Disclosure Measures (Corporations Amendment Regulations 2005), including an ‘indirect cost ratio’.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 19

ONGOING FEE MEASURE (REPEALED)

REPEALED – Guidance Note has been replaced by the Government’s Enhanced Fee Disclosure Measures (Corporations Amendment Regulations 2005), including further guidance regarding periodic statements.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 20

ASIC FEE TEMPLATE (REPEALED)

REPEALED - The Financial Services Council Board has repealed Financial Services Council Standard No. 12 - ASIC Fee Template in response to the Government introducing the Enhanced Fee Disclosure Measures (Corporations Amendment Regulations 2005) from 1 July 2005 for super products and 1 July 2006 for managed investment products.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 21

CALCULATORS – BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES

Guidance Note No. 21 applies to the providers of calculators that are designed for use directly by consumers, without the aid of a licensed financial planner. It recommends ways in which these companies should approach a range of assumptions, so they might be applied in a reasonably consistent giving users ‘like’ results, based on the same key facts. Through this Guidance Note, Financial Services Council hopes to increase the comparability of calculators across the industry and maximise the educational benefit for users.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 22

IT FRAUD & SECURITY GUIDELINES

Main features of this Guidance Note are to provide a starting position to assist Financial Services Council members in reviewing and assessing their Fraud and Security position relating to Information Technology (“IT Fraud and Security”), particularly as they impact both on consumers of financial products and on Financial Services Council members, and to encourage good practice in respect of IT Fraud and Security by identifying the key principles that can be used to address IT Fraud and Security concerns. Financial Services Council Guidance No. 22.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 23

FINANCIAL SERVICES COUNCIL MAJOR DISASTER PLAN

Guidance Note No. 23 establishes a more formal mechanism to enable consistent messages to be conveyed to member companies and consumers in times of crisis. The Financial Services Council Major Disaster Plan complements, but does not replace, Financial Services Council members respective business continuity planning.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 24

AML/CTF & FATCA FORMS (FSC/FPA)

26 May 2017: This Guidance Note was updated in May 2017. The Guidance Note is also accompanied by 12 forms (Schedules) designed to assist in managing customer identification obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act and certain customer due diligence obligations under the (United States) Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (described as “FATCA”). The 12 forms which are available on request from FSC are:

CUSTOMER ID FORMS

  • Schedule 1: Individuals & Sole Traders
  • Schedule 2: Australian Companies
  • Schedule 3: Foreign Companies
  • Schedule 4: Australian Regulated Trusts
  • Schedule 5: Unregulated Australian Trusts & Foreign Trusts
  • Schedule 6: Partnerships & Partners
  • Schedule 7: Associations
  • Schedule 8: Registered co-operatives
  • Schedule 9: Government bodies
  • Schedule 10: Verifying Officer

US TAX STATUS DECLARATION FORMS

  • Schedule 11: US Tax Status Declaration Form – Individuals
  • Schedule 12: US Tax Status Declaration Form – Entities.

FSC Members (free):

  • For free copies of the 12 forms, FSC members may contact FSC at info@fsc.org.au or on (02) 9299 3022.

Non-Members (licence):

  • Non-members may use, adopt or access the forms under licence. For information on the licence terms and licence fee, please contact FSC at info@fsc.org.au or on (02) 9299 3022.

Copyright in the forms is owned by the FSC and the Financial Planning Association. The FSC and FPA permit non-members to use the forms upon payment of the applicable licence fee.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 25

PRODUCT PERFORMANCE: CALCULATION OF AFTER-TAX RETURNS

The main features of this Guidance Note are to specify the principles to be adopted when calculating After-tax returns; facilitate accurate comparisons amongst Products; provide guidance in the interpretation and application of those principles; and to standardise the practices, procedures and terminology relating to the calculation of After-tax returns.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 26

ASSET VALUATION FOR INFREQUENTLY VALUED ASSETS

The purpose of this Guidance Note is to specify the principles for asset valuation in the calculation of unit prices when transactions may take place in Schemes which are substantially invested in infrequently valued assets; to provide guidance in the interpretation and application of those principles and to standardise the practices and procedures relating to the pricing of interests in such Schemes.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 27

INCOME STREAM REPORTING SCHEDULES

The purpose of this Guidance Note is: To assist income stream providers with the preparation of system generated reports for income stream products that can be used for the purposes of both Centrelink and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (“DVA”). To provide clarification regarding the information to be reported for income streams for the purposes of both Centrelink and DVA. To ensure consistent reporting by income stream providers. Financial Services Council Guidance Note No. 27 Income Stream Reporting Schedules.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 28

VARIED REDEMPTION ARRANGEMENTS

The main purpose of this Guidance Note is to encourage standard practice in the administration and communication of varied redemption arrangements for managed funds.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 29

STANDARD RISK MEASURE GUIDANCE PAPER FOR TRUSTEES

The purpose of the Standard Risk Measure Guidance Paper is to provide guidance to superannuation funds on the calculation and disclosure of superannuation investment risk to fund members. The Guidance Paper has been jointly developed by the FSC and ASFA and its adoption is strongly recommended by APRA and ASIC.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 30

ESG REPORTING GUIDE FOR AUSTRALIAN COMPANIES

In February 2016, the FSC and ACSI launched the second ESG Reporting Guide for Australian Companies (2015). The Guide highlights the minimum information and reasonable data requirements that are needed for our member organisations to successfully price, analyse and manage Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investment risks.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 31

PROVISIONING FOR DEFERRED TAX ASSETS

This Guidance Note was prepared by the FSC Unit Pricing Working Group. This Guidance Note is to be used by Scheme Operators when formulating and applying a policy for the treatment of Deferred Tax Assets (DTA). This Guidance Note will have specific application when calculating the DTA for unit pricing purposes.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 32

HIV/AIDS UNDERWRITING GUIDELINES

The main purpose of this Guidance Note is to provide background and guidance for FSC Members relating to underwriting in respect of insurance applicants with HIV/AIDS or insurance applicants who engage in activities which can represent a significantly above-average risk of leading to a subsequent infection.


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 33

BEST PRACTICE FOR GROUP INSURANCE DATA


GUIDANCE NOTE NO. 34

FEES AND COST DISCLOSURE

To provide industry participants with guidance in relation to the requirements for calculating and disclosing fees and costs in product disclosure statements and periodic statements.

RECENT UPDATE: FSC, AIST and ASFA have set up an Industry Working Group (IWG) to discuss a number of issues arising from RG 97 and the associated Class Order. The first output of that IWG is a Guidance Note on how to complete the ASIC form (required as a condition of transitional relief) attached as a supporting document. 

Additional documentation:

  1. Explanatory letter from FSC, AIST & ASFA in relation to IWG Guidance Note; and
  2. GN34 31214196(10) ASIC Form Guidance Note (Final).

PERSONAL INVESTMENT TECHNOLOGY TASK FORCE STANDARD (PITTF) (ARCHIVED)

The Personal Investment Technology Task Force (PITTF) was established in 1996 as a joint working group between the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and the Investment Funds Association (IFA). The objective of PITTF was to oversee the implementation of principles outlined in the 1996 Electronic Commerce Development Plan. The PITTF Standards and other documents, whilst not formerly adopted by Financial Services Council, provide a useful insight into the history of the development of ecommerce in the industry.

Archived until removed, likely to be removed after internal governance process has taken place as these documents are historic.  If a copy is required please contact Paul Callaghan e: pcallaghan@fsc.org.au. 


GUIDANCE NOTE CIRCULAR

NON-BINDING SHAREHOLDER VOTES ON REMUNERATION REPORTS (ARCHIVED)

The purpose in developing this Guidance Note Circular is to provide further guidance to members making decisions on how to vote on remuneration reports. When read in conjunction with Financial Services Council’s Blue Book – Corporate Governance – A Guide for Fund Managers and Corporations, the Note should assist companies to formulate remuneration policies and remuneration reports that are received positively by shareholders, both in Australia and offshore. Furthermore, Financial Services Council believes this Note will assist in ensuring that the benefits from the non-binding vote are realised, including improved communication between shareholders and companies and improved construction and disclosure of remuneration practices, resulting in greater transparency in the Australian share market.

Archived until removed, likely to be removed after internal governance process has taken place as these documents are historic.  If a copy is required please contact Paul Callaghan e: pcallaghan@fsc.org.au.