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The first crowd-sourced funding (CFS) intermediaries have been licensed by ASIC under the new CFS regime, providing small and medium-sized companies additional means to access capital.
ASIC announced in a release that seven companies have been issued with AFS license authorisations to act as intermediaries able to provide a crowd-sourced funding service.
With the grant of these new authorisations, eligible public companies will now be able to use the CSF regime to raise capital by making offers of ordinary shares to investors via the online platform of one of these intermediaries.
The CSF regime which came into effect on 29 September 2017 allows unlisted public companies with less than $25 million in annual turnover and assets to source and raise funds on crowdfunding platforms of up to $5 million a year.
According to the corporate regulator, CFS offers are subject to fewer regulatory requirements than other forms of public fundraising.
ASIC commissioner John Price said that this marked a significant milestone for crowd-sourced funding in Australia.
“ASIC has been assessing applications as a matter of priority, as suitable intermediaries needed to be licensed before fundraising under the new regime could commence,” said Mr Price.
“Intermediaries have an important gatekeeper role which will be key to building and maintaining investor trust in crowd-sourced fundraising, so we are pleased to have now issued the first tranche of authorisations.”
Institute of Public Accountants chief executive Andrew Conway had earlier welcomed the regime, believing it would help bridge the capital gap faced by many young and emerging start-ups.
“Australia has a relatively poor global record of commercialising innovation and lags behind most advanced economies on this matter, so addressing the lack of funding for start-ups is critical,” Mr Conway said.
“It is these innovative firms that drive economic transformation, and which are much needed to respond to a dynamic, global environment.
“This legislation will now bring Australia in line with other countries that have already adopted and embraced similar laws, including the USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand and many European countries.”