This is a service specifically targeted at the needs of busy non-executive directors. We aim to give you a “heads up” on the things that matter for NEDs in the week ahead – all in two minutes or less.
In this Edition, we consider the new opportunity for charities to showcase their work to donors, supporters and the broader public on the ACNC Charity Register; the Financial Action Task Force beginning public consultation regarding proliferation financing risk, digital currencies and digital currency exchange providers; and further evolution in Australia’s class action landscape. We also look ahead to the impacts of the International Monetary Fund’s upgraded economic outlook for Australia.
GOVERNANCE & REGULATION
Charities have a new opportunity to showcase their work. There is a new opportunity for charities to showcase their work to donors, supporters and the broader public on the ACNC Charity Register. Charities can now provide details about up to ten programs, the location in which they are delivered and the people who benefit, when they complete the 2020 Annual Information Statement. This innovation aims to transform the ACNC Charity Register into a more effective tool for charities and those who seek to work with and support them. The general public – including donors, philanthropists, grant-makers and volunteers – will be able to search for charities based on the work they want to support in the location of their choice. See the ACNC’s media release.
AUSTRAC Financial Action Task Force commences public consultation. Last week, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) began public consultation to invite feedback on draft guidance about proliferation financing risk, and on digital currencies and digital currency exchange providers. This consultation signifies an arguably overdue move by regulators and other bodies to provide regulation with respect to digital currencies. While guidance and recommendations issued by FATF are not legally binding in Australia, these international standards will strongly influence the development of AML/CTF legislation around the world. The public consultation regarding the mitigation of proliferation financing risk closed on 9 April 2021. However, the public consultation on a risk-based approach to digital currencies and digital currency exchange providers will close on 20 April 2021. See AUSTRAC’s media release.
The growth and evolution of class actions. The class action landscape on a national and global level is rapidly growing. We are still continuing to see a large volume of class action claims, many of which were prompted by the Hayne Royal Commission on the financial services sector. Additionally, the class action landscape is continually evolving. The High Court in Wigmans v AMP Limited  HCA 7 has provided important insight in relation to scenarios where two or more class actions are commenced on the same topic. The High Court has clarified that in this instance, it is not necessarily first in, best dressed. Rather, Courts should consider a range of factors – noting there is no one size fits all approach. This decision is significant, as it will promote greater competition between competing class action firms. See G+T’s article.
OVER THE HORIZON
Australia’s economy expected to recover strongly. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has upgraded Australia’s economic growth outlook in its latest World Economic Outlook by confirming Australia’s economy is recovering from the COVID-19 crisis faster and stronger than previously expected. It is forecast that Australia’s economy will grow by 4.5% in 2021, one percentage point higher than the IMF’s interim outlook in January. Beyond this year, the IMF expects Australua’s economic growth to reach 2.8% in 2022, broadly consistent with its earlier projection. In upgrading its outlook, the IMF notes that the nation’s economy continues to show a “strong recovery momentum”. The IMF attributes this momentum to a favourable labour market recovery which supports a strong rebound in private consumption. The IMF also notes that Australia’s GDP is projected to reach its pre-COVID level by the March quarter 2021. See Treasury’s media release.