The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has reported on a raft of applications for legal relief, including some of the reason they were refused.

The regulator says it provides no-action letters “when instances of non-compliance with certain statutory provisions have been brought to ASIC's attention” and when it “does not intend to take regulatory action over a particular state of affairs or particular conduct”.

ASIC reports it has refused 32 applications for relief, including one planner who wanted to use the word ‘independent' to describe their practice.

The watchdog refused another application by a firm looking to to apply grandfathering to the remuneration earned by employees of a licensee as a result of giving general advice.

ASIC said it dealt with both by way of ‘no-action letters', which forced the applicants to make changes as requested.

But the refusals to provide relief were massively out-weighed by the amount of approvals.

ASIC provided relief for 650 applications from a total of 803 from 1 February to 31 May 2014.

The regulator put out the statistics as part of Report 411 Overview of decisions on relief applications (February to May 2014).

In the documents, ASIC indicated it may vary or set aside requirements of the law where the relief would provide “a net regulatory benefit” or reduce red tape, as long as there is no collateral harm to market participants and consumers.