The government has told the corporate and financial regular, ASIC, that it must “identify and pursue opportunities” to support Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID pandemic.
In its “statement of expectations”, the federal government said ASIC needs to ensure the sound functioning of capital markets and the corporate sector “for the benefit of businesses and households” and also “minimise the costs and burdens of regulatory requirements”.
Also on the agenda is “to administer the law in a way that promotes competition and innovation in the interests of all consumers, including through promoting a digital economy”.
A plan for economic recovery
In response, ASIC — which regulates all companies, financial markets and providers of financial services and consumer credit in Australia — released its statement of intent and corporate plan for the next four years. Measures it will take to support economic recovery include:
• Facilitating business investment: Finding ways to maintain and improve the fair and efficient operation of capital markets and the corporate sector, to facilitate business investment and confident participation by investors in the financial system.
• Cutting red tape: Using a purpose-specific unit to change the way the regulator administers the law to minimise the costs and burdens of regulatory requirements.
• Innovation and cyber resilience: Looking for additional ways to promote innovation, competition and a digital economy, including through its Innovation Hub and the Regulatory Sandbox. Considering competition in regulatory work, and working with industry and other regulators to enhance cyber resilience.
• Faster and better: Expanding its use of data and digital technology to inform markets and consumers, and support faster and better regulatory outcomes.
• New models: Finding ways to facilitate novel business models and transactions, including through the exercise of its regulatory relief powers as appropriate.
“ASIC has an important role to play in promoting economic recovery and confidence in the financial system, especially in the face of the ongoing pandemic,” said Joseph Longo, who was recently appointed chair of ASIC alongside Sarah Court as deputy chair following the resignation of former senior staff over an expenses scandal.
Mr Longo said they will “take opportunities to support businesses through more efficient regulation” while being “vigilant in protecting consumers and investors from harm”.