July 29

Significant Investor Visa – Advice from ASIC

Significant Investor Visa - Advice from ASIC: July 2021

On the 23rd of July the Office of Migration Agents Registration Authority (OMARA) emailed all Registered Migration Agents an update regarding entitled “Referring clients to managed fund products” (see attached).

The importance of this email from the Immigration Integrity and Assurance Branch of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) cannot be understated.

The most recent review of the BIIP and the subsequent changes introduced on 1 July 2021 were designed to streamline the BIIP, help Australia get a better deal from Visa investments and to protect the integrity of the program going forward.

The important point for Migration professionals to remember is that fund managers are not financial advisers. Since the SIV started in 2012, we have always been concerned that some Migration Agents have not fully understood this fundamental distinction.

The Ord Minnett Investor Visa team are ASIC Registered Financial Advisers. The Financial Advisers Register is published by ASIC on their MoneySmart website. The register is a public record of financial advisers who are licensed to provide personal advice on complex financial products to consumers. Applicants should check to see if their adviser is registered with ASIC and licensed to give financial advice in Australia.

Many of you who have been reading our regular updates will be aware that we have always been concerned that some RMA’s via their referral practices unwittingly providing financial advice and contravened the financial services provisions of the Corporations Act 2001.

OMARA’s email specifically cites section 766B of the Act in regards to what constitutes financial product advice and the strict exemptions in the requirement to hold an AFS.

RMA’s also need to take into account ASIC’s Regulatory Guide 36, in regards to “arranging’. The term “arranging” is not defined in the Corporations Act. In Regulatory Guide RG 36 Licensing: Financial product advice and dealing at RG 36.42 ASIC states that “arranging” is a broad concept under the Corporations Act.

Migration Agents who arrange or refer to product issuers should carefully consider whether their referral services cross into this area where an Australian Financial services License is required.

An RMA’s conduct may constitute arranging when:

  • their involvement in the chain of events leading to the relevant dealing is of sufficient importance that without their involvement the transaction would probably not take place.
  • The fact that they receive benefits depending on the decisions made by the person for whom they are acting would also constitute arranging.
  • The intermediary negotiates the terms of the financial product between the product issuer and the consumer. Generally, the more active the intermediary is in facilitating the transaction between a consumer and a product issuer, the more likely their activity is to be arranging.

The BIIP is a world class program, competing with other investment visa programs around the world to attract highly sought investment capital.

This timely reminder from OMARA and ASIC will help to protect and enhance the integrity of the BIIP and assist visa applicants to obtain better quality investment advice that will lead to better investment outcomes.

Ord Minnett (Ords) is a leading Australian wealth management group, incorporating full-service stockbroking, financial planning, funds management, portfolio services and since 2012 compliant investor visa advice. With corporate origins dating back to 1872, Ords has been building the wealth of investors for generations. Our prudent investment advice makes more sense than a funds only recently established to take advantage of the investor visa market.

The advice given by ASIC, the nominating State Governments and Austrade is applicants should seek financial advice before investing. In addition, all IV and SIV applicants are required to sign a DHA 1412 form acknowledging they have considered obtaining financial advice.

Therefore, Migration Professionals should not risk carrying out a financial services business without an AFSL by “arranging”. It makes good sense and is best practice to refer your investor visa clients to ASIC registered financial advisers like the Ord Minnett Investor Visa Service.

The Ord Minnett Visa Investment Service remains committed to the SIV & IV and will continue to provide advice and help new applicants to implement both SIV & IV portfolios that comply with the post 1 July 2021 visas rules.

The timely reminder email to RMA’s from OMARA is welcomed by Ords and constitutes business as usual for the Ord Minnett Investor Visa Service.

Of course for applications made prior to 1 July 2021, the Ord Minnett Visa Investment Service will continue to provide advice and help applicants to implement SIV & IV portfolios that comply with the 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2021 visas rules. Please continue to refer these applicants to us. We are pleased to assist.

Please contact us at [email protected] to learn how we can work together to assist your visa applicants have a great IV or SIV investment experience.

During these times of COVID lockdown, we continue to enjoy a lot of success by having an email introduction made as early as possible. For the time being, initial consultations and follow up meetings continue to be efficient via Zoom or WhatsApp conferencing.

Once again, thank you for all of your continuing support. We look forward to working with you to help your clients obtain their Australian Investor Visa (IV) or Significant Investor Visa (SIV) and also have a great Australian Investment experience.

“Ord Minnett is where Investor Visa applicants belong.

When you get the right advice, it makes all the difference."

Brett Waller Ord Minnett Director SIV Investment Service

Brett Waller


After a career spanning over 25 years of Private Banking and Trade Finance, Brett moved to Asia joining ipac Singapre as a Senior Vice President in 2005. Joined Ord Minnett in 2012, and established the SIV Ord Minnett Investment Service.

[email protected]

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