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Former ASX executive to review continuous disclosure reforms

By Reporter
2 minute read

The review will investigate whether changes made to the continuous disclosure regime in 2021 are working in support of an “efficient, effective, and well-informed market”.

The federal government has appointed Kevin Lewis as a part‑time independent reviewer of amendments made to Australia’s continuous disclosure laws in 2021.

The continuous disclosure reforms, which were introduced by the Morrison government, changed the Corporations Act 2001 so that companies and their officers are only liable for civil penalty proceedings when they have acted with “knowledge, recklessness or negligence”.

“The review will consider whether the legislation introduced by the former government in 2021 is working in support of an efficient, effective and well‑informed market,” Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones said in a statement on Tuesday.

Dr Lewis previously served as chief compliance officer at ASX. He was formerly a lawyer practising across a wide range of areas including financial services and corporate matters.

In announcing the appointment, Mr Jones said that Dr Lewis has extensive knowledge and experience in corporate governance and the continuous disclosure framework.

Along with considering whether the changes made to the continuous disclosure regime are working in support of an efficient, effective, and well-informed market, the review’s terms of reference note that the reviewer will also have regard to:

  • the effect of the amendments on the quality and nature of disclosures made by listed companies;
  • continuous disclosure regimes that operate overseas and the extent to which the Australian regime is consistent with those regimes; and
  • whether the amendments have given rise to barriers that may prevent compliance with or enforcement of the continuous disclosure obligations.

The review will consult publicly in the coming months and Dr Lewis is expected to provide a report to the government by 14 February 2024. The review may set out recommendations to the government and provide a rationale for any recommendations that are made.