ASIC issues updated disclosure guidance for shorter PDSs

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The shorter PDS regime commenced in June 2012.

Recently, ASIC has reviewed a sample of shorter PDS for superannuation and simple managed investment schemes in order to gauge how well PDS issuers were complying with the new regime and identify any measures needed to increase compliance.

ASIC found issuers had made a good effort to comply and any non-compliance tended to be technical rather than substantive.

“Some issuers have responded imaginatively to the requirements of the new regime to educate consumers, for example, about how superannuation works and the relationship between risk, return and investment time horizons. We are pleased to see initiatives that seek to improve consumer understanding,” ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said.

Information Sheet 155

On 27 November 2013, ASIC released its updated Information Sheet 155: Complying with requirements for superannuation products and simple managed investment schemes (INFO 155).

The updated INFO 155 provides some useful comments as to how ASIC interprets and intends to regulate some of the more technical requirements and lodgement protocols of this regime. Areas of concern for ASIC included:

  • shorter PDSs that exceed the page limit, or use overly small or faint fonts (for example, font size in the primary document must be at least 9 points (except for the issuer’s name, address, ACN, ABN or Australian financial services licence number, which must be at least 8 points): see Schs 10D(1)(2) and 10E(1)(2) of the Corps Act);
  • warnings that are not prominently disclosed – ASIC states that it expects warnings to attract consumers’ attention by:
    • increasing font size;
    • change of font or background colour;
    • placing warning within a box; or
    • including a ‘warning symbol’.


The use of supplementary PDSs to update shorter PDSs are prohibited under regulations 7.9.11M and 7.9.11U.

In this regard, ASIC has provided further guidance for issuers that are looking to amend a shorter PDS:

  • amending a shorter PDS (eg changing fees, amending redemption times) requires the issuing of a new PDS and requires re-dating and lodgement of an in-use notice (ASIC Form FS88); and
  • amending incorporated by reference material does not mean a new PDS has been issued. If the change is to the incorporated fees information, notice of the change must be lodged with ASIC (ASIC Form FS89).

If a product feature has a benefit and a cost and the PDS refers only to the benefit, ASIC said the PDS may be misleading unless it also refers to the cost of that benefit.

Finally, ASIC has also reminded issuers that shorter PDSs must explain the applicable cooling-off period.

Further information can be found in the ASIC Information Sheet 155.