ASIC Regulated Reference Check now available to financial firms

Enhance industry compliance and protect against losses with new First Advantage check

March 16, 2022

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Australian financial services firms can now outsource the latest regulatory requirement from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), as First Advantage introduces the availability of its ASIC Regulated Reference Check. This new check can help financial organisations more easily comply with new industry regulations, while also enabling them to better protect against losses and reputational damage associated with internal theft and fraud.


The new regulation

Effective October 1, 2021, ASIC began requiring all Australian financial services licensees and Australian credit licensees to comply with the ASIC Reference checking and information sharing protocol set out in ASIC Corporations and Credit (Reference Checking and Information Sharing Protocol) Instrument 2021/429 (ASIC protocol).

Intended to promote better information sharing about the performance history of prospective financial advisers and mortgage brokers, the protocol requires that recruiting licensees (including prospective employers, brokers, etc.) take “reasonable steps” to obtain a reference from a referee licensee (the candidate’s current or past  employer, broker, etc.) before employing or authorising a prospective representative. Those reasonable steps should include 1) seeking written consent for the reference check from the prospective representative; and 2) if consent is given, requesting and performing the reference check in accordance with the ASIC protocol.


The value of outsourcing

Instead of internally managing yet another new compliance task at a time when many firms are understaffed, organisations can preserve their internal resources by outsourcing their ASIC Regulated Reference Checks to First Advantage. In addition, outsourcing to an experienced background check provider can help employers:

  • Get more consistent, complete and faster results by using a dedicated team of trained verifiers.
  • Improve compliance with all ASIC-mandated protocols.
  • Increase hiring efficiency by consolidating all standard and industry-specific background checks under one provider.
  • Offer candidates a seamless, streamlined background check experience, with all required consent forms originating from and managed by a single provider.


Availability, outcomes and requirements

The First Advantage ASIC Regulated Reference Check is available to financial services employers in Australia, Cocos Island, Norfolk Island and Christmas Island. It provides confirmation if a candidate has been involved in compliance audit results or outcomes related to:

  • Non-compliance with financial services laws or credit legislation.
  • Involvement in any misconduct in relation to provision of financial services or engaging in credit activities.

The check further supports compliance with ASIC reference checking and information sharing protocols, as employers are provided required evidence including the reference check questionnaire, a documented correspondence trail with the source of the reference check and a screenshot of the representative/licensee register.

To learn more, including around the specific information required to perform the ASIC Reference Check, contact First Advantage today. To explore additional Australian regulatory checks available through First Advantage, click here.