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ASIC looks to pursue opportunities for ‘smarter regulation’

ASIC has revealed a major focus over the next 12 months will be to identify and pursue “opportunities for smarter regulation”.

In its July-September quarterly update released on Wednesday, the corporate regulator said it will also look to support the Australian economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and offer short-term relief for entities where appropriate.

“I will ensure ASIC continues to take opportunities to support businesses through more efficient methods of regulation,” ASIC chair Joe Longo said.

“At the same time I will ensure ASIC remains vigilant in protecting consumers and investors from harm.

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“By using the full suite of regulatory tools at our disposal, we will disrupt misconduct and drive quick, effective and proportionate regulatory outcomes.”

Mr Longo’s comments come only weeks after a new raft of regulations was introduced into the financial services industry, including new breach reporting requirements and design and distribution obligations (DDO).

Meanwhile, last week’s passing of the Better Advice Bill ensures that the financial services and credit panel within ASIC will become the single disciplinary body for financial advisers from 1 January 2022.

Speaking to ifa, Association of Independently Owned Financial Professionals (AIOFP) executive director Peter Johnston called for practising financial advisers to be included on the panel, who can best assess complaints put against an adviser.

“Panel members with accounting, law or social science degrees do not have the expertise to assess the technical aspects of advice,” he said.

“Only appropriately educated and authorised advisers can do that.”

Similarly, the Association of Financial Advisers’ (AFA) general manager, policy and professionalism, Phil Anderson, said the industry group harbours concerns about ASIC’s power to investigate minor breaches without having to refer it to the panel.

“This will add unnecessarily to the cost of running the single disciplinary body, which ultimately financial advisers and their clients will need to pay for,” Mr Anderson said.

"We will be calling for these changes as part of the quality of advice review that the government has committed to running in 2022.”

ASIC looks to pursue opportunities for ‘smarter regulation’
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Neil Griffiths

Neil Griffiths

Neil is the Deputy Editor of the wealth titles, including ifa and InvestorDaily.

Neil is also the host of the ifa show podcast.

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