Omni Bridgeway granted an Australian Financial Services Licence under new regulatory regime for Australian class actions

Omni Bridgeway is pleased to confirm it has been granted a litigation funding Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).1 The AFSL means we have in-house capability to fund Australian class actions in compliance with the new regulations that came into force last month.

New regulatory regime for funding class actions

Under the new regulations, funded class actions commenced on or after 22 August 2020 will be regulated as a financial product in line with Australian financial services laws. Each ‘litigation funding scheme’ will need to be operated by an entity holding a valid AFSL. Only authorised personnel will be able to give financial advice about participation in a litigation funding scheme.

The new regulations provide significantly enhanced consumer protections, particularly for retail participants in funded class actions.

For class actions that commenced prior to 22 August 2020, including all class actions currently funded by Omni Bridgeway, there is no change. For new funded class actions, we do not expect that group members will find the overall process to be substantially different from past class actions. However, the sign-up process will include the use of a ‘Product Disclosure Statement’ and some additional checks and questions.

Omni Bridgeway is pleased with the speed and efficiency with which our licence application was handled by ASIC and believe we are the first dispute funder to be granted a licence under the new regime.

  1. Omni Bridgeway's wholly owned subsidiary Omni Bridgeway Investment Management Ltd received the AFSL on 15 September 2020.