ASIC’s Enforcement priorities
At the General Counsel Summit on 7 August 2023 ASIC Deputy Chair, Sarah Court, gave an opening address confirming that ASIC’s priorities for 2023 would include:
- targeting the poor design and distribution of financial products
- pricing promises in insurance
- protecting financially vulnerable consumers from predatory lending practices or high-cost credit
- directors’ duties and governance failures.
In an address titled “Maintaining a strong focus on enforcing the law” Ms Court acknowledged that ASIC “received significant criticism in … Commissioner Hayne’s final report” and reconfirmed that ASIC was committed to being “proactive and strategic rather than reactive”. In essence, to be discriminating in respect of its enforcement options and to largely concentrate on those matters “likely to have a deterrent effect beyond the particular issue [ASIC is] prosecuting”. Further, ASIC should not, and will not, be conservative in the selection of the matters it prosecutes.
Why you should care
- ASIC’s focus on macro-issues should not be interpreted as an abandonment of advice but instead a refocus on product promotion, consumer detriment and governance. For licensees, this may translate to a greater focus on governance frameworks and “measures, processes and procedures”.
- It may not indicate less oversight but instead suggest the practical demarcation line between ASIC and the Financial Services and Credit Panel.
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