Company law in Australia: Primary aspects and components
Australia is a federation comprising six states, two mainland territories, and seven overseas territories with a population of about 25 million people. The federal government is headquartered in Canberra, yet the vast majority of Australians (more than 70%) live in the big coastal cities. Australian company law offers numerous prospects for foreign investment in Australia. We have compiled a list of major features of Australian company law that will help you to shape your career in company law.
The Corporations Act of 2001 governs the establishment of corporations, the acquisition of shares, securities, and the derivatives industry. The Corporations Act, along with other significant pieces of law, form a unified regulatory framework for businesses that applies in all Australian states and territories.
·Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is a federal organisation responsible for administering the Corporations Act. As the regulator and enforcer, it also serves as the primary register and information source for business problems. Under the Australian Securities and Investments Commissions Act, ASIC has broad investigative powers to uncover misconduct, acquire evidence necessary to pursue criminal prosecutions, restrain unlawful behaviour, and commence civil procedures for Corporations Act violations.
·Incorporation (or “registration”)
A company has a legal personality distinct from its shareholders and directors, and it can possess property, enter into contracts, and initiate legal processes in its name. It is the most frequent type of corporate structure in Australia. Companies are formed under the Corporations Act by appointing directors (one of whom must be an Australian resident), issuing shares, establishing a registered office in Australia, and filing copies of the company's constitution with ASIC (although, there is no requirement for a company to have a constitution unless it is a publicly listed company or one that is created for a specific reason).
·Type of Companies
The Corporations Act distinguishes between two types of companies: public and proprietary companies limited by shares. Both require a registered office in Australia from which communications can be sent and, in the case of a public business, the registered office must be open to the public. All businesses must also have a "public officer" who is in charge of meeting the duties imposed by Australian taxation legislation. One of a company's directors, a company's public officer, and the secretary of a public company must be ordinarily resident in Australia.
·Directors and Officers
The board of directors, who are elected by the members, is in charge of the company's management and control. Directors and individuals acting as directors, such as managers, bear specific duties to the company and its shareholders under the general law, the Corporations Act, and other legislation.
·Managed Investment Schemes
The Corporations Act defines managed investment schemes as any arrangement in which an operator manages an investment made by one or more passive investors other than through the issuance of shares or other securities in a corporation.
Australia has passed legislation allowing (qualified) start-up and small company enterprises to obtain cash by selling securities to a large number of investors without the use of a prospectus.
·Australian Stock Exchange (ASX)
Public firms may attempt to raise cash from the general public by listing on the ASX; this option is also accessible to companies registered overseas in certain situations. The ASX quotes and trades in the shares of publicly traded firms.
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