I’m planning to set up a company and act as the trustee of a unit trust whose unit holders are all foreign retail / wholesale investors. The trust money will be invested in Australia REIT and other unlisted real estate funds. Do I need to apply for AFSL for the trustee company? thanks for any advices.
To determine whether you need an AFSL you must first consider whether you are operating a “financial service business”. You will provide a financial service if you provide financial product advice, deal in a financial product or provide a custody service (among other things) in Australia. For further details see ASIC’s Regulatory Guide 36 (RG 1).
It is likely that your unit trust will be classified as a managed investment scheme (MIS) under the Corporations Act.
Conducting a business of operating a MIS will require the trustee to hold an AFSL.