ASIC defends enforcement decisions

The corporate regulator has responded to claims that it’s reluctant to utilise the full extent of its enforcement powers.

Speaking to media at the ASIC annual forum in Sydney on Monday, ASIC chairman James Shipton said regulation of the financial system is a complex issue and pursuing court proceedings is not always the best way to achieve the desired outcome.

“I’m not going to speculate on whether this case or that case should or shouldn’t have gone to court, but I will observe that there’s a healthy docket of actions that are in court right now that are being led and supported by us,” he said when questioned over the regulators seeming unwillingness to pursue matters in the courts.

“We will use different tools at different times in response to different situations – it’s not just a matter of using one regulatory tool in response to everything that comes along. These situations that we deal with are very complex, and what we need to think about is what is the right response in that particular situation, to try and eradicate the harm and avoid the harm from happening again.”

Mr Shipton said foreign regulators often focus on “just one aspect of their regulatory tool kit”, which he said is “a trap for regulatory agencies”.

“We will use enforcement tools when necessary, we will go to court when necessary, but equally we will use surveillance tools, guidance tools, engagement tools and ongoing supervisory tools to ensure that we’re actively working towards this ultimate goal,” he said.

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“Regulatory agencies need to take a step back, identify what the harm is, identify what the impediment to achieving that ultimate goal of trust and confidence in the financial system is, and address that particular challenge or that range of challenges.”

ASIC defends enforcement decisions
ASIC, James Shipton, Enforcement Powers, ASIC Annual Forum, financial services regulation,
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