ASIC Chair addresses strategic priorities

ASIC Chair, James Shipton discussed a number of key topics at his keynote address at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event.

His talk covered ASIC’s strategic change program and the regulator’s key strategic priorities for the next 12 months, along with  an update on the implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations and new enforcement and supervisory approaches.

Shipton confirmed that since last year ASIC has been significantly increasing and accelerating court-based enforcement matters as part of their new enforcement strategy, “We are also looking to use the full extent of our new penalties and powers.”

He said, “ASIC is a core part of the financial system and our vision is for a fair, strong and efficient financial system for all Australians.”

He also addressed the topic of insurance stating, “We will review insurance product features and industry practices that raise concern. We are also looking to take enforcement action against entities and individuals who engage in the misselling of insurance products, particularly to vulnerable consumers.”

Shipton confirmed that ASIC will further support and implement the Government’s proposed insurance law reforms, as well as commence data collection to establish baseline evidence for their future regulatory work and support these reforms when adopted. These reforms include unfair contract terms in insurance contracts and acting against unfair practices in claims handling.

He said, “We will take appropriate regulatory action once these reforms are in place to make them effective.” He also confirmed that the regulator is focussed on improving the professionalism of financial advisers, “We will address misconduct and consumer harm in the advice sector, particularly as they may arise from the industry’s shift towards using general advice models.”

Shipton said that ASIC is also actively pursuing measures that can be implemented, in whole or in part, without requiring new legislation. ASIC is also working closely with APRA to formalise and enhance information sharing arrangements, while partnering more than ever with AUSTRAC, AFCA, the New Zealand Financial Markets Authority and other international and domestic regulators