Carrying on Financial Services Business Without a Licence

The maximum penalty for carrying on financial services business without a licence is two years imprisonment and/or An $22,000 fine.

What court will hear the matter?

This matter is indictable but may be dealt with by either the Local Court or the District Court.

Common ways this offence occurs

Some ways that a person or company may find themselves facing this charge are as follows.

  • A person’s or company’s work has gradually expanded from matters that do not require an AFSL, such as accounting, to matters which do, such as insurance broking or financial advice.
  • A person has begun to work for themself after a period working for someone else under their AFSL and have neglected to obtain a licence of their own.

What the prosecution must prove

To find a person guilty of this offence, the court must be satisfied that:

  • The accused carried on the business of providing financial product advice;
  • The accused did not hold the relevant license (under Section 913B of the Corporations Act) covering the provision of that financial advice.

Financial services licenses are needed for a broad range of financial activities including facilities through which people make financial investments or manage financial risks, such as insurance, stockbroking and investment planning.

It is an offence under the Corporations Act to carry on a financial services business in this jurisdiction without being licensed to do so. That is, without holding an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL).

For more information

Contact one of our team of specialist corporate crime lawyers at Armstrong Legal on 1300 038 223.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in corporate crime and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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