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Dr. Mark Sinclair
Dr. Mark Sinclair, Mentor Education

ASIC canvas policy reform proposals scutinising its performance

27 October 2013

In light of recent high profile articles painting ASIC as somewhat of a ‘toothless’ and ‘lazy tiger’, the corporate regulator has canvassed 10 policy reform proposals as part of a 200-page submission into a Senate inquiry scutinising its performance, powers and structure.

The Senate inquiry was announced in July following a series of damming articles published in Fairfax highlighting the corporate regulator’s inadequacy and incompetence; namely a cover-up by Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning arm and the failure of ASIC to act promptly; resulting in widespread condemnation of the regulator.

Of the submissions for reform one of the most pertinent will be how the corporate watchdog will look at the various tools available to them for enforcement and guidance as well as ways to improve its performance. The as yet unpublished submission will also include a recommendation to make several policy reforms including the introduction of a mandatory national exam for all advisers, strengthening its policy on whistleblowers and looking at its policy on the definition of an official investigation and what it can and can’t discuss due to legislative restrictions.

While submissions have closed for the proposals a number of high profile people and organisations, including ASIC, have requested an extension. Senator Doug Cameron has expressed a desire for various organisations, including accounting body CPA Australia and the Australian Securities Exchange to be part of the inquiry.

The majority of submissions (in excess of 100) are from mums and dads who have lost their finances by a financial institution and felt that the corporate regulator was ineffective and powerless to assist them.

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