Australian Securities and Investments Commission

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Australian Securities and Investments Commission
ASIC logo.JPG
Statutory authority overview
Formed 1 July 1998; 18 years ago (1998-07-01)
Preceding agencies
Dissolved Australian Securities Commission
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Headquarters Sydney, New South Wales
Employees 1,844 (As of June 2016)[1]
Minister responsible
Statutory authority executives
  • Gregory Medcraft,
    Chairman
  • Peter Kell, Deputy Chairman
  • Cathy Armour, Commissioner
  • John Price, Commissioner
  • Gregory Tanzer, Commissioner
Key document
Website www.asic.gov.au

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) is an independent Australian government body that acts as Australia's corporate regulator. ASIC's role is to enforce and regulate company and financial services laws to protect Australian consumers, investors and creditors.[2] ASIC was established on 1 July 1998 following recommendations from the Wallis Inquiry. ASIC's authority and scope is determined pursuant to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act, 2001 (Cth).

ASIC is responsible for the administration of all or parts of the following legislation:[3]

History[edit]

ASIC was originally formed as the Australian Securities Commission (ASC), which came into being on 1 January 1991, in accordance with the (then) ASC Act 1989. The purpose of the ASC was to unify corporate regulators around Australia by replacing the National Companies and Securities Commission and the Corporate Affairs offices of the states and territories.

The corporate regulator became the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) on 1 July 1998, when it also became responsible for consumer protection in superannuation, insurance, deposit taking. It has since gained further responsibilities: in 2002 for credit, the Australian Stock Exchange in 2009, and Chi-X in 2011.

Criticisms[edit]

In 2012, ASIC called for powers to use data which other intelligence agencies have intercepted.[4]

In recent times ASIC has become the subject of criticism by consumers, consumer advocates and public officials over its inaction and inefficiencies in protecting consumers from large financial institutions.[5][6][7][8]

In 2015-2016 ASIC was subject to a failed class action claim of negligence by persons affected by the Storm Financial collapse for an alleged failure to take action, amounting to malfeasance.[9] However, a single judge of the Federal Court of Australia struck out the statement of claim of the plaintiffs in the preliminary stage.

ASIC has not acted against the Financial Ombudsman Service (Australia) (FOS) despite the organisation being exposed as having generated misleading file notes and then attempting to offer them in the discovery phase in a Victorian Supreme Court case. FOS were caught out and exposed by a consumer and ASIC has not acted against FOS.[10]

ASIC did commence proceedings against the largest four big banks in Australia in 2016 for rigging of Australian benchmark interest rates. However criticism has been leveled against he bank for failing to take action for over five years. Questions remain about how this will affect consumer civil causes of action against banks involved, given that the statute of limitations tends to be six years in Australia.

ASIC has recently become subject of heavy criticism in the debate about whether a Royal Commission into banking and financial services is required.[11]

Areas of responsibility[edit]

ASIC's areas of responsibility include:

  • corporate governance
  • financial services
  • securities and derivatives
  • insurance
  • consumer protection
  • financial literacy.

ASIC's consumer website www.moneysmart.gov.au was launched on 15 March 2011. MoneySmart replaced ASIC's two previous consumer websites, FIDO and Understanding Money. MoneySmart aims to help people make good financial decisions by providing free, independent and unbiased information, tools and resources.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Annual Report 2014-2015 (PDF), Australian Securities and Investments Commission, 2015, p. 85 
  2. ^ "ASIC at a glance". ASIC. 11 April 2005. Archived from the original on 25 February 2005. Retrieved 16 April 2005. 
  3. ^ "The laws ASIC administers". ASIC. 1 February 2005. Retrieved 16 April 2005. 
  4. ^ David Ramli (27 September 2012). "ASIC calls for more phone-tapping powers". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  5. ^ 7111;, corporateName=Commonwealth Parliament; address=Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600; contact=+61 2 6277. "Submissions". www.aph.gov.au. Retrieved 2016-01-14. 
  6. ^ 7111;, corporateName=Commonwealth Parliament; address=Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600; contact=+61 2 6277. "The impairment of customer loans". www.aph.gov.au. Retrieved 2016-01-14. 
  7. ^ 7111;, corporateName=Commonwealth Parliament; address=Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600; contact=+61 2 6277. "Final Report". www.aph.gov.au. Retrieved 2016-01-14. 
  8. ^ "Our banks are beyond the law". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2016-02-21. 
  9. ^ Lock v Australian Securities and Investments Commission [2016] FCA 31 available at, http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/cth/FCA/2016/31.html?
  10. ^ "The questions the Financial Ombudsman needs to answer". ABC News. 2016-04-01. Retrieved 2016-06-11. 
  11. ^ "What is a royal commission and why does Labor want one?". ABC News. 2016-04-08. Retrieved 2016-06-11. 

External links[edit]