ASIC today published its Indigenous Financial Services Framework (Framework). The Framework is part of ASIC’s role in supporting positive financial outcomes for First Nations people.
A corner stone of ASIC developing its Framework was through extensive and thorough consultations with First Nations peoples, financial services industry representatives, as well as fellow Government Departments, Agencies, and Regulators. These consultations were held with a range of sectors with national coverage, across broad geographic regions. At each stage the voices of First Nations people were prioritised and elevated.
Through this consultation, ASIC identified four key learnings:
- First Nations peoples had unique, established economies before colonisation that continued today and should be understood, respected, and maintained;
- First Nations peoples have been prohibited and excluded from participating in the Australian financial system;
- Financial wellbeing affects all aspects of First Nations peoples’ lives; and
- First Nations peoples have many different versions of financial success that need to be accepted and empowered.
The Framework highlights how ASIC will use these learnings to inform its work with First Nations consumers. It supports this intent by setting out several long-term outcomes which will require ongoing collaboration and engagement between ASIC and its stakeholders. These outcomes include, but are not limited to:
- reducing the impact of harms and misconduct on individuals and communities;
- providing accessible and appropriate financial products and services;
- increasing holistic service provision and delivery; and
- establishing positive and culturally appropriate experiences when engaging with the financial services industry and other service providers.
ASIC recognises the importance of ongoing, regular engagement with First Nations people. It is establishing timely and structured engagement streams to maintain and build on our learnings. These will be used to influence ASIC’s stakeholders on key themes, emerging issues and challenges highlighted by First Nations consumers. The engagement streams include an Indigenous Advisory Group, a Cross-Government Engagement Group, and ongoing contact with the financial services industry.
Further to the Framework, ASIC’s Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan 2023-2026 (RAP) includes the pursuit and promotion of regulatory outcomes where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers or investors have been adversely impacted by harm and misconduct. Through both the Framework and the RAP, ASIC is outlining its priorities for supporting positive financial outcomes for First Nations consumers, and communicating expectations to industry participants on best practice engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers and investors.
The Indigenous Outreach Program (IOP) was established in 2009 as a national team. The IOP builds relationships in urban, regional, and remote locations nationally. It is a specialist team working across ASIC to provide advice, insights, and support to ensure ASIC’s engagement with First Nations peoples is culturally appropriate and sensitive.
The team also works with industry, service providers, and other government agencies to influence system change and drive positive financial outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
ASIC’s development of the Framework took on a proactive approach in consulting and collaborating with First Nations people. Several phases of consultation were held between 2019-2022, allowing ASIC to build its understanding of the needs, experiences, and perspectives of First Nations consumers engaging with the financial system. These phases of consultation included:
- First Nations Leaders Roundtable;
- First Nations Financial Counsellor and Financial Capability Worker Network;
- National Service Provider Consultations;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community consultations;
- Government engagements;
- Financial services industry workshops
- Credit and Banking sector
- Superannuation sector, and
- General Insurance sector.
To find out more about ASIC’s IOP, visit the ASIC IOP webpage
To read more about ASIC’s commitment to Reconciliation in our RAP, download a copy of ASIC’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)