On 28 July 2015 ASIC, in a welcomed move, released revised Regulatory Guide 221, Facilitating digital financial services disclosure(RG 221).
RG 221 contains guidance to further facilitate disclosure through digital channels, and aims to encourage innovative communication of information about financial products and services.
Prior to the release of RG 221, specific consent from members was generally required when digitally delivering disclosures. Where specific consent could not be obtained, disclosures were sent to a postal address. Furthermore, regulated disclosure documents could be “given” if they were sent to an electronic address “nominated” by the member, or made available in a way agreed to by the member.
Now, it is possible to simply notify members that relevant disclosure documents are available without the need to attach or provide a copy of those documents.
In his media release of 28 July 2015, ASIC Commissioner John Price, said:
“The changes mean product disclosure statements…and other financial services disclosure documents will be delivered to consumers digitally as the default option, unless the consumer opts out. This will reduce the costs of printing and mailing for businesses while preserving choice for those consumers who wish to receive paper.”