The Australian parliament has passed the Asia Region Funds Passport (ARFP) bill, which will enable Australian funds to access the Asian markets under a funds passport agreement.

Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and Thailand are the current signatories to the agreement.

The bill, which amends the Corporations Act 2001, will enable Australian managed funds to serve as passport funds and sell their products to participating nations.

Minister for revenue and financial services Kelly Megan O’Dwyer said: “Australian fund managers will be able to sell a single product across Asia and achieve greater economies of scale. This should allow lower costs for consumers.”

The latest decision was welcomed by wealth industry data manager APIR Systems.

APIR CEO Chris Donohoe said: “The passing of the Bill follows the launch of a pilot program at the start of this year to test the regulatory framework and to investigate operational requirements, and APIR has been a strong supporter and participant in the pilot.

“The ARFP is an opportunity for Australian fund managers to expand into Asian growth markets, and for Australian investors to access regional investment expertise. Further, when accompanied with the CCIV legislation that is currently in exposure draft for comment, it will bring Australian funds into alignment with globally accepted structures, such as UCITs.”