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When Do You Need an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) and How to Get One?

As the name suggests, you are required to obtain an AFSL if you or your employees provide financial products or services to clients.


Photograph by Karolina Grabowska


The AFSL regime is primarily regulated by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and according to the authority, providing financial services include:

  • ‘Providing financial product advice to clients for example, giving a recommendation to clients or the general public about which financial product they should purchase;

  • Dealing in a financial product for example, buying or selling shares on behalf of a client or issuing interests in a managed investment scheme;

  • Making a market for a financial product for example, where you regularly quote prices at which people can buy or sell financial products;

  • Operating a registered managed investment scheme. ASIC is also required to register managed investment schemes that are offered to retail clients;

  • Providing a custodial or depository service for example, holding a financial product, or a beneficial interest in a financial product on trust for a client;

  • Providing traditional trustee company services for example, preparing estate management functions;

  • Providing a crowd funding service;

  • Providing a superannuation trustee service; or

  • Providing a claims handling and settling service.’

Source: https://asic.gov.au/for-finance-professionals/afs-licensees/do-you-need-an-afs-licence/.


Application Step 1

Complete an Application for AFS Licence (FS01) Form online using the ASIC eLicensing system.


Application Step 2

You will be required to email to licensing.afslproofs@asic.gov.au the following:

  1. Copies of your core proof documents (see List A); and

  2. The signed print-out of Form FS01.

ASIC will only accept your application for lodgement if you submit the online application form, email your print-out of the form as well as your core proof documents at the same time.


List A

1. Business Description:

This document should provide an overview of your financial services business and include an organisational chart.


2. People Proofs:

  • This document is used to assess your organisational competence and whether there is a reason to believe that certain people who manage and control your financial services, including your responsible managers, are not fit and proper to undertake their roles.

  • Your responsible managers are the people you have nominated in your application as being responsible for significant day-to-day decisions about your financial services business.

  • For each responsible manager, you must include: Statement of Personal Information; Copy of a national criminal history check (less than 12 months old); Copy of a bankruptcy check (less than 12 months old); Copies of qualification certificates; and Copies of two business references (at least one of these is to be from someone external to the responsible manager’s current organisation).

  • For each of your fit and proper people, you must include: Statement of Personal Information; Copy of a bankruptcy check (less than 12 months old); and Copy of a national criminal history check (less than 12 months old).

  • Your fit and proper people may or may not also be the responsible managers you have nominated for competence purposes.

3. Organisational Competence

You need to detail each responsible manager’s experience and qualifications relevant to each authorisation you have selected in your application.


4. Financial Statements and Financial Resources: Note: You do not need to submit this core proof if you are a body regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA); however, if you are an RSE licensee authorised to operate registered managed investment schemes, you will need to provide this proof.


Application Step 3

Once ASIC receives all of the above, the Commission will undertake a “completeness check”, or a “pre-lodgement check”, to see whether your application is complete and acceptable for lodgement. If it does not pass this check, your application will be rejected and you will have to re-apply.


If you are unsure of whether you require an AFSL or need help in applying for one, please contact us.

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