The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has published its corporate plan for 2020-24, setting out the actions it will take to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as longer term threats and harms in its regulatory environment.
ASIC has selected five strategic priorities:
- protecting consumers from harm at a time of heightened vulnerability
- maintaining financial system resilience and stability
- supporting Australian businesses to respond to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
- continuing to identify, disrupt and take enforcement action against the most harmful conduct
- continuing to build organisational capacity in challenging times.
ASIC is also maintaining its commitment to other important priorities and workstreams beyond the pandemic-related activities. Its longer-term focus areas include:
- promoting confident participation in the financial system to support long term economic recovery
- deterring poor behaviour and misconduct through the ‘Why not litigate?’ discipline and driving cultural change using all of its regulatory tools
- improving entities’ management of key risks to prevent and mitigate harms to consumers and promote a healthy financial system and economic growth
- addressing consumer harm as a result of elevated debt levels and hardship, with a particular focus on predatory lending
- reducing poor product design and restricting mis-selling
- reducing misconduct by company directors and professional service providers (including a continued focus on phoenixing activity), and
- delivering as a conduct regulator for superannuation.
“Our core purpose is to ensure confidence in a financial system that, even under stress, can remain fair, strong and efficient,” ASIC Chair James Shipton said. “Confidence is the bedrock of the economic recovery process.”
“This is the purpose of all our work, both in the immediate context of the pandemic and beyond it. We will continue to respond rapidly and strategically to the threats arising in an uncertain environment.”
More details are available on the ASIC website.