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In this Edition, we examine ASX’s guidance with respect to Appendix 4C quarterly activity reports, the development of a voluntary code for charities and the impact of the Delta variant on the market.
GOVERNANCE & REGULATION
ASX provides some timely reminders regarding Appendix 4C reporting. Quarterly reports for the quarter ending 30 June 2021 will need to be submitted by reporting entities by the end of July. ASX has highlighted a few matters, in its Listed@ASX Compliance Update 06/21, to keep in mind when preparing these reports. Firstly, when drafting an Appendix 4C, an entity is reminded not to “cherry-pick” its disclosures, and should instead disclose both “good” information that is likely to have a positive effect on the price or value of its securities and the “bad” information which is likely to have a negative effect on the price or value of its securities, but which is nonetheless necessary for investors to have a complete and true picture of the information. Secondly, ASX also emphasises that, a quarterly activities report is the appropriate place for providing information regarding matters such as the entry into or progress of a contract or transaction that a reasonable person would not expect to be material under Listing Rule 3.1. ASX adds a caution against entities releasing a “business update” or similar, other than by way of its quarterly activities report. ASX considers these types of updates, which sometimes involve a series of such disclosures in close proximity and which are not particularly material, as more appropriately provided in a quarterly activities report rather than as a stand-alone announcement.
Development of a voluntary code for charities to improve the transparency of charitable donations during natural disasters. Recent natural disasters have shown that sometimes a discrepancy exists between how donors expect their funds to be utilised by a charity and how donated funds are actually used.
In order to address this problem, the Government and the charity sector are actively working together to develop a voluntary code to improve the transparency of the use of charitable donations during natural disasters. This code will provide charities which choose to become signatories with a framework for transparent reporting of disaster recovery fundraising and activities. A working group of charity representatives (including the Australian Red Cross and the Minderoo Foundation) and Treasury officials are working to develop the key features of the code. The working group has released a consultation paper which identifies features of the code which it considers will be key to ensuring the code is a workable and effective solution to improving transparency. Submissions on the consultation paper are open until 13 August 2021. If passed, charities should consider whether they should become signatories to this code. See the Treasury’s consultation page.
OVER THE HORIZON
Delta’s market impacts. Last year, plenty were surprised to see the strength of the ASX (and other global markets) through the unpredictable rise and fall of COVID-19 cases and lockdowns across the country and across the globe. However, it now seems that unpredictability and inflation fears may be proving too much for investor confidence. Wall Street and London have taken a recent hit, with similar trends expected to be seen on the ASX. Observations suggest that the decline likely represents the dwindling optimism about the medium term global COVID-19 recovery given the rise and vast impacts of the delta variant. Those impacts are now hitting home soil, particularly in NSW and Victoria, which will continue in lockdown this week. While the NSW State Government and Federal Government have jointly announced a $5 billion package to support NSW’s lockdown, it is unlikely we will see the same positive impact on the ASX which we witnessed with similar stimulus packages last year.