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Minter Ellison

Market regulation

Government regulation of the market is designed to ensure market integrity, fair competition and protections for consumers, workers and shareholders. However, the ever increasing web of rules and regulations at every level of government, poses many challenges for business. Yet, understanding your regulatory obligations domestically and internationally is essential for any business.

We provide uncomplicated advice about your regulatory obligations to validate compliance and minimise the impacts that regulatory intervention, investigations and remediation can have on your business. This enables you to get on with your business. We understand the full lifecycle from proactively de-risking and understanding your obligations through to detecting and responding to enforcement proceedings and managing risks and reputational damage.

  • Competition & antitrust
  • Consumer
  • Bribery, corruption & corporate crime
  • Trade
Competition & antitrust

It is critical that your arrangements and transactions are structured in the best way possible to meet commercial and strategic goals, whilst ensuring they do not fall foul of the Competition and Consumer Act.

Our focus is on all aspects of the anti-competitive (antitrust) regulations, especially:

  • Cartel investigations
  • Misuse of market power (abuse of dominance)
  • Predatory pricing
  • Exclusive dealing
  • Resale price maintenance 

 

Consumer

Businesses need be across their regulatory and non-regulatory obligations relating to their interactions with consumers. We provide a range of sector specific advice relating to consumer regulations including:

  • Product safety standards, labelling, recalls and liability;
  • Consumer contracts, unfair contract terms and unconscionable provisions
  • Consumer credit, personal property securities and debt collection processes
  • Consumer guarantees and warranties
  • Compliance reviews of marketing material, advertising, product brochures, websites and external communications;
  • Trade promotions
  • Online marketplaces, social media interactions and sharing economy regulation.
  • Privacy of personal information
  • Mandatory reporting requirements
  • Consumer complaints, advocacy and action campaigns
  • Investigations and disputes
Bribery, corruption & corporate crime

Bribery, corruption and corporate crime can have long-lasting reputational and revenue impacts on companies and staff. The extraterritorial reach of international laws such as the UK Bribery Act, the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the increased powers of local law enforcement and regulators means that companies need to expect increased regulatory scrutiny, intervention and enforcement no matter where they do business.

We provide a comprehensive, end-to-end approach in matters involving bribery, corruption, fraud, money laundering, sanctions, cartels, false accounting, tax evasion and corporate manslaughter including:

  • Risk analysis, compliance and audits
  • Risk mitigation strategies, training, business continuity, procedure development, and use of risk management tools
  • Recruitment policies relating to staff and agents
  • Insurance and self-insurance options
  • Understanding techniques used to structure or disguise an improper payments, pre-incident identification and tracking
  • Investigate money and other asset flows between persons and organisations for unlawful purposes
  • Incident response, reputational integrity, crisis management and claims
  • Regulatory investigations as well as civil and criminal prosecutions under the Corporations Act, Criminal Code, Federal and State Crimes Act and international laws.
Trade

Globalisation means that businesses are prone to legal, political and commercial risks and regulatory regimes.

We provide regulatory compliance and solutions for exporters, importers and investors including:

  • Understanding trade sanctions
  • World Trade Organisation, multilateral and bilateral trade arrangements and treaties
  • Export controls
  • Customs, anti-dumping and quarantine
  • Foreign investment regulation
  • International taxation, transfer pricing and BEPs
  • Excise, duty and other taxation
  • Human rights and supply chains
  • Local jurisdiction business and market regulation
  • Disputes, arbitration, investor state dispute settlements and enforcement of judgments.

We provide solutions across the full life cycle of market regulation:


Regulatory obligations lifecycle

Proactive de-risking and assurance Navigation Show below Hide below

  • Gap analysis
  • Systematic reviews of areas of concerns
  • New product and service design
  • External, independent perspectives to counter blind spots
  • Training (Safetrac)
  • Formal assurance to Board and management

Connecting with regulators Navigation Show below Hide below

Developing and maintaining respected working relationships with regulators including ASIC, APRA, ACCC, ATO, RBA, AUSTRAC, ASX and specialist sector regulators and Ombudsman including Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australian Energy Regulator, Australian Communications and Media Authority

Regulatory change Navigation Show below Hide below

  • Submissions to Government on policy ideation and development workability of new regulation
  • Advice delivered in a market context through participation in industry groups

Investigations Navigation Show below Hide below

  • Handling formal and informal requisitions (surveillance and investigations)

  • Document management

  • Conduct of internally commissioned investigations

Remediation Navigation Show below Hide below

Remediating regulatory shortcomings through product design and improvement, and management of compensation and redress schemes concerning affected consumers and other stakeholders

Enforcement Navigation Show below Hide below

Enforcement proceedings
Public inquiries
Class actions

Managing a Crisis or Dispute

Lessons from recent merger clearance experience

Recent developments


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Experience


 Domestic merger clearance
  • TPG Telecom - merger clearance for the acquisition of iiNet Limited for A$1.4bn by scheme of arrangement
  • IAG - A$1.85 billion acquisition of Wesfarmers Insurance, the largest and fifth largest general insurers in Australia
  • Toll Holdings Limited - divestment of its coastal shipping business to Seaswift successfully approved in unusual Australian Competition Tribunal proceedings
  • CrownBet - contest the proposed A$11bn merger of Australia's two largest wagering market participants, Tabcorp and Tatts

International merger clearance

  •  A$2.6bn worldwide Iron Mountain merger with Recall Holdings


Domestic merger clearance and infrastructure access
  • NSW government on the refinancing of Port of Newcastle, the Victorian government on the privatisation of Port of Melbourne and the Northern Territory Government on the long term lease of the Port of Darwin


Cartels, litigation and investigations

  • Singapore Airlines - one of the largest cartel investigations and enforcement actions before the Australian Federal Court, as well as settling follow-on class action.
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia - navigating regulatory investigations by ASIC and the ACCC into global foreign exchange trading activity and alleged manipulation of interest rate benchmarks (BBSW).