ASX updates listing rules

The Australian Securities Exchange has updated its listing rules, boosting its ability to crack down on rule breakers.

ASX chief compliance officer Kevin Lewis said the changes are designed to improve disclosures to the market, make the listings rules easier to understand and comply with, and enable the ASX to better monitor and enforce compliance.

"It is important the ASX keeps evolving the listing rules so they remain contemporary, address emerging compliance issues, and continue to serve the interests of issuers, investors, and the Australian economy," he said.

One of the changes included the extension of the 'good fame and character' condition to non-director chief executives as well as directors.  The ASX said respondents overwhelmingly supported the proposal with some suggesting further extending the rule to other C-suite executives.

The ASX said: "ASX can see merit in extending this requirement to CFOs, given the pivotal role they play at listed entities, and has amended [the condition] accordingly to extend the good fame and character requirements to non-director CFOs."

"ASX is however wary of extending it any further at this stage, given the administrative burden it would create for applicants for listing in obtaining good fame and character documentation for a broader set of executives."

In addition, the ASX will enforce a mandatory education course and examination covering the listing rules for anyone appointed responsible for communicating with the ASX about listing rule matters.

The course and examination will come into effect from 1 July 2020, with the exchange saying it will enhance the quality and consistency of market disclosures.

"This package of reforms builds on the major changes the ASX has make in recent years to its continuous disclosure, corporate governance, and admissions rules and guidance," Lewis said.

"It reflects ASX's commitment to continuous improvement of its supervisory framework and to enhancing the trust, quality, and resilience of the ASX market."

Cracking down on market announcements, the ASX has made it clearer how a document should be given to the ASX and that if the document is for release to the market, it should include, or be sent under a covering letter including, the name, title and contact details of a person who security holders and other interested parties can contact if they have any queries.

With the exception of the education course and examination, the new rules will come into effect at the start of December this year.

Read more: ASXAustralian Securities ExchangeKevin Lewis
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