Where knowledge meets innovation
As we're Australia's leading lawyers, with expertise across the full spectrum of competition law and deep industry knowledge, we provide integrated, holistic advice that saves our clients time and money.
We advise on some of the most complex high-profile M&A matters that set precedents, so we are at the cutting edge of new developments and a driver of innovative solutions.
Depth of experience
Our experience advising a range of public and private sector clients, including those in retail, energy, transport, logistics, aviation, education, manufacturing, energy and resources, financial services and retail banking means we are able to identify where gaps in your business' compliance system exists more quickly, leaving you to focus on achieving your business goals.
One on one approach
Recognising that each business is unique, we offer a tailored approach where we consult exclusively with clients to pin point improvements to your legal risk management.
Leaders in GRC thinking
Clients come to us because we are key players in GRC. We were involved in developing the official guide to the Australian Standard on Compliance AS3806 and we developed Complir8© – a unique measurement tool used to evaluate the effectiveness of compliance programs.
We are the only top tier law firm in Australia with a dedicated Governance and Compliance team staffed by accredited GRC professionals. Randal Dennings is nominated by the Law Council of Australia to be a member of the Australian Committee of the International Standards Organisation which is developing the International Standard for compliance.
Our clients benefit from the tools and guides we have that complement and feed into a best practice GRC framework. Together with our benchmarking reports, they also appreciate the ongoing mentoring and support provided by our team. Governance, risk and compliance should be viewed as a regular part of every business and we aim to make it as simple as possible for our clients to effectively manage their GRC risks.
We do the intellectual grunt work
Keeping up with today's highly regulated environment can be a real challenge. Our GRC lawyers make it their business to be experts in regulatory law, including financial services regulation (FSR), anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing laws, anti-bribery and corruption (ABC), privacy, banking regulation and unfair contract terms so that we can help you do the intellectual grunt work when it comes to understanding the interplay of these regimes with how your business works and its overarching GRC frameworks.
We also work together with our wider Clayton Utz teams to deliver integrated legal and compliance solutions. In particular, we work closely with our Corporate Advisory team to guide you on organisational structures and incorporating GRC functions to support the effective management of corporate governance and Board reporting.
Regulatory liaison, defence and response
Managing regulator actions or concerns is a particular focus of our Governance and Compliance team. Our lawyers regularly liaise with the Australian Securities Investments Commission (ASIC), Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the Office of Australian Information Commissioner, the Offices of Fair Trading and other regulators. Our experience dealing with regulatory action, especially investigations into organisations' failure to comply with legal and regulatory requirements puts us in good shape when representing clients in regulator prosecutions or investigations.
Our experience extends to advising on ASIC investigations. We were recently involved in an investigation of the quality of financial product advice provided by a medium-sized Australian Financial Services Licensee. We helped our client respond to extensive ASIC surveillance and investigation of its financial advice. By drawing on our combined GRC and technical expertise we guided our client on the reactive aspects of the investigation and also the steps that it could undertake to proactively address ASIC's concerns as well as potential remediation steps. The proactive advice we gave throughout the investigation ultimately became an instrumental component of our client's defence.
Upgrading GRC frameworks
Clients often come to us to problem solve and assist them with the move towards a more integrated GRC system in response to changes in legislation, regulator action or other drivers.
As an example, when Airservices Australia was looking to strengthen and expand the coverage of its legal compliance framework across its activities in all States and Territories, they turned to our Governance and Compliance team for advice. We were instrumental in designing and implementing key components of its compliance framework and worked with Airservices' IT consultants to develop and roll out a compliance software program to support its compliance tracking, monitoring and reporting activities.
During the 2014 reforms to the Privacy Act, our team was appointed by a financial services company to advise and help on its project to upgrade its privacy and customer arrangements before the reforms took effect. Working together with our client's legal team and project personnel, we made sure the various aspects of the company's privacy arrangements, such as its information handling activities, customer interactions and approach to public disclosure of privacy practices met the new requirements. We also supported them on changes to its internal processes and procedures so that our client was prepared for the new Privacy Act requirements.
Specialist GRC advice
Our integrated GRC skills and legal expertise are often sought on legislative implementation projects – for example, the implementation of the reforms to the Privacy Act, National Consumer Credit Protection Act and Future of Financial Advice (FOFA). We have advised clients in the financial services and other industries on these reforms, including credit providers, financial services providers, insurers and public sector agencies.
Our team's flexible approach means we are able to adapt our services according to the needs of each individual client's project and budget. We can help in scoping the project both from a legal and GRC perspective, provide advice and legal sign-off on GRC upgrade plans, compliance with the reforms, consult on GRC impacts and advise on possible changes to the organisation's operations to ensure ongoing compliance with the reform.
We also help clients with the necessary changes to their governance and compliance systems to accommodate potential changes to their business such as developing new products or services, outsourcing, opening new operations in a different jurisdiction, downsizing or establishing new distribution channels. Our team offers additional value by drawing on our GRC expertise to help our clients in taking our legal advice to the next step of operationalising this advice.