Policy and Research Update | February 2020

Welcome to our first policy and research update for 2020.

In November, we welcomed Brendon Harper as our new Head of Policy and Research.

Since he started in this role, we have made a number of submissions, attended government hearings and held stakeholder meetings in addition to working on a pipeline of research projects. Recent highlights include:

- Our pre-budget submission to the Federal Government;

- Our submission on FinTech and RegTech reforms; and,

- Appearing at the Joint Standing Committee’s Trade and Investment Growth Hearing.

For more detail, including upcoming activities, please find below a list of our main submissions, engagements and research from December 2019 through to February 2020.

Brendon is excited to be working with you and is looking forward to a busy and productive 2020. If you have any policy or research questions or issues you would like to discuss, please feel free to contact Brendon.

Submissions, hearings and government meetings


Pre-Budget Submission

The Australian Investment Council lodged a pre-budget submission to the Federal Government in December. Our submission highlighted the positive contribution of the private capital industry to the Australian economy and its direct contribution to Australian businesses. We made 17 recommendations, focussing on:

1) Modernising Australia’s Private Capital Investment Framework; and

2) Maintaining certainty and openness of Australia’s investment and trade policy.

Senate Select Committee Inquiry into Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology

The Federal Government called for submissions on a Senate inquiry into Financial and Regulatory Technology with a view to how Australian businesses can deploy innovation to create the next wave of employment and economic growth. The Australian Investment Council made a submission to the inquiry and will appear at a hearing in Sydney in February.

Extending the definition of a Significant Global Entity (SGE)

The Council responded to the Federal Treasury consultation, reiterating its concerns with a number of aspects of the proposed expansion of the definition of a SGE. Our submission made a number of recommendations that aim to better align Treasury’s drafting with the intent of the legislation while reducing unintended consequences.

Trade and Investment Growth Hearing

The Australian Investment Council appeared at the Joint Standing Committee’s Trade and Investment Growth Hearing in Sydney. This follows the Council’s submission in September 2019. The Hearing focused on the international competitiveness of the current tax frame and barriers to foreign investment. A copy of the Hearing’s Hansard, including our appearance, is available here.


Legal and Tax Advisory Committee meeting

The Legal and Tax Advisory Committee met on 31 January to discuss a range of matters, including the meeting held with the ATO on the same day (see below).

Negative Control Update

The Legal and Tax Advisory Committee met with the ATO on 31 January to discuss developments regarding the issue of Negative Control. This meeting reinvigorated discussion on this long-running topic. The Council will continue to engage with the ATO as work on this topic progresses.


Retirement Income Review

Following recommendations in the Productivity Commission's report into the Efficiency and Competitiveness of Superannuation, the government commissioned an independent Retirement Income Review. The Council made a submission to the Treasury consultation, highlighting the importance of having a world class superannuation system, including:

- The lost opportunity of focussing on fees and cost rather than fund performance; and,

- The role of alternative assets is superannuation funds’ asset allocation and performance.

Future events

Consultation on Skilled Migration Occupation Lists

The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business regularly reviews the skilled migration occupation lists to ensure they accurately reflect the needs of Australian businesses. The Council will be reviewing the list and making recommendations where appropriate. Government Consultation.

Business Innovation and Investment Program: Getting a better deal for Australia

Department of Home Affairs has launched a consultation on the Business Innovation and Investment Program to see how the benefits of the Significant Investor Visa can be maximised for Australian Businesses. Government Consultation

Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology

The Council has been invited to attend a hearing of Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology. This follows the lodging of our submission in December 2019 (see above).

AASB reporting and disclosure changes

We are coordinating a meeting with the AASB to discuss its recently released Exposure Draft (ED 295) which proposes a new, separate disclosure standard that would replace the current Reduced Disclosure Requirements framework. If you would like to attend the AASB call, please let me know.

ASIC Roundtable on RG97

ASIC has called for attendees for three roundtables to be held in late February to discuss the November 2019 changes to RG97. If you would like to attend the ASIC roundtable, please let me know or you can respond to ASIC directly. 

Inquiry into foreign investment proposals

The Senate Standing Committee on Economics has released Terms of Reference for an inquiry into foreign investment proposals. We are likely to make a submission, click here to view the terms of reference.



Benchmark Report – Q2, 2019

In association with Cambridge Associates, the AIC released the Q2 2019 Australia Private Equity and Venture Capital index and benchmark statistics. The overview report is available to all members while access to the PE and VC specific benchmarks is restricted. If you currently do not have but would like access to these reports please contact me.


Political Insight Series: Interview with Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade and Investment

On behalf of the Council, Steve Lewis of Newgate Australia conducted an exclusive interview with Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade and Investment.

Political Insight Series: PM under fire

Steve Lewis of Newgate Australia gives us his insights into what is driving the agenda in Canberra and the PM’s likely policy response following the bushfires in this report and interview.

Future events 

Benchmark Report – Q3, 2019

The Q3 2019 benchmark reports are expected to be released in February 2020.

2020 Yearbook

We are working with Preqin to release the 2020 Yearbook at the end of March 2020. If you are a LP or GP, a representative from your firm should have received an email requesting you to review the externally-captured data about your fund on the Preqin portal. We appreciate your assistance as the annual Yearbook plays a vitally important role in helping to support the Australian Investment Council’s advocacy and representation initiatives with government and regulatory agencies on a wide range of issues.