ASIC cutbacks due to Labor budget: Medcraft

Recent voluntary redundancies at ASIC reflect budgetary constraints imposed by the previous Labor government, says ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft.

Answering questions at the ASIC Annual Forum in Sydney yesterday, Mr Medcraft told the audience that last week’s announced cutbacks actually reflect the Labour government’s forward estimates.

“Clearly we have announced voluntary redundancies, which actually reflect that we are dealing with a budget that was already laid out for us in the previous government’s forward estimates,” he said.

Mr Medcraft stressed that he did not tell the Senate Inquiry that ASIC was under resourced.

“I didn’t say ‘under resourced’,” Mr Medcraft said.

“I actually said that you can have an ASIC at 250 or 350 and it’s up to us to determine how we allocate those resources, and it’s up to the government to determine the level of resilience it wants in the financial system,” he said.

“We, like others, have to manage within our budget.”

Mr Medcraft’s comments came at the end of a panel discussion about reducing regulatory barriers in the global financial system.

“In terms of globalisation, again we assign our priorities, and clearly, as I said in my opening speech, globalisation is a fact of life and if we want to be a forward-looking regulator, then actually dealing with globalisation is a priority, as is dealing with the digital economy,” he said.

“I think particularly using digitisation provides us with opportunities to be smarter and more efficient about what we do.”

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