ASIC releases update on its enforcement and regulatory work

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ASIC has released an update on its work in the six-month period from September 2019 to February 2020, including its response to the referrals and recommendations of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (the Royal Commission). It follows previous updates on ASIC’s response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations in February and September 2019.

Since September 2019, ASIC has remained focused on a range of initiatives that it commenced prior to or in response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations. ASIC continues to provide input to the Australian Government’s regulatory reform program and is using new regulatory powers given to it by the Parliament.

ASIC remains
focused on enhanced supervision of the financial services sector, to promote
enduring cultural and behavioural change and fair outcomes for consumers.

ASIC is also responding to emerging issues as they arise—for example, in our coordinated response to the recent bushfire crisis.

ASIC’s work since September 2019 includes:

  • operationalising and expanding the Office of Enforcement—a significant part but by no means all of ASIC’s enforcement work remains focused on Royal Commission referrals and case studies that came before the Royal Commission, and contraventions of the financial services laws by the major banks, superannuation trustees and insurers. The Office of Enforcement has also focused on using ASIC’s expanded toolkit, including new and increased civil and criminal penalties, to take action in response to market, corporate and financial sector misconduct;
  • continuing its enhanced supervision program across large listed entities in the financial services and other sectors, focusing on non-financial risk management and oversight;
  • completing its implementation of four of the 10 recommendations by the Royal Commission that were directed at ASIC, and providing significant input to Government on its legislative reform program in response to the Royal Commission’s recommendations; and
  • continuing to implement and use ASIC’s new regulatory powers to identify and address misconduct and poor consumer outcomes. More broadly, we continue to take action to protect consumers and improve the standard of conduct and governance in the financial services sector—in particular, in relation to superannuation, financial advice, insurance and credit. All of this work advances our objective of creating a fair, strong and efficient financial system for all Australians.

View the full update here.