ETFs in Australia are regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) as registered “managed investment schemes” (“MIS”) which means ETF issuers are governed by a detailed and strict set of regulations regarding the management of assets. To understand how safe ETF assets are, we need to understand the MIS rules – the laws which apply not only to ETFs but also to most traditional managed funds, and the fund’s constitution or governing rules.
All ETFs in Australia utilise a structure where each investor owns “units” which give an ownership share in the overall assets held by the fund. These ETF units are issued by a “unit trust”, which holds the assets of the fund on trust for investors. The structure used for ETFs is the same structure used by most traditional managed funds in Australia.