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December 16, 2010 at 11:26 pm #2209
Yes, you can.
ASIC has released RG 221 to clarify its position on using online means to provide financial services disclosures to clients.
RG 221 explains the circumstances in which PDSs, FSG, and SOAs can be disclosed by sending a written notice (paper or electronic) which includes a hyperlink to a website address where the disclosure can be found, provided that the client (or clients) agrees beforehand to receiving disclosure in this manner.
In the right circumstances, online delivery by hyperlink has the potential to be more user-friendly for clients and can reduce costs for financial service providers. Although the Corporations Act 2001 (“the Act”) allows online disclosure, the historical lack of clear guidance has discouraged some providers from using online facilities.
RG 221 Facilitating online financial services disclosures also sets out: ASIC’s interpretation of the online disclosure provisions under the Act; and good practice guidance for online delivery of financial services disclosures.
The new RG 221 Facilitating online financial services disclosures can be accessed here.
At a practical level, your business will need to establish processes to get your clients’ express consent to receive documents via hyperlink. For example, a financial planner’s fact find (assuming it is signed by the client) should include a statement like:
“We will provide you with disclosure documents (PDS’s, FSG’s) via email hyperlinks. Please tell me if you prefer paper versions, and we can provide them at any time.”
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