On 31 July 2014, ASIC released Report 402 that outlines enforcement outcomes it has achieved during the period 1 January 2014 to 30 June 2014. As Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator, ASIC has the role of identifying and dealing with those who break the law. ASIC does this through their detect-understand-respond approach:
- Detect misconduct or the risk of misconduct by gathering intelligence
- Understand by analysing the intelligence
- Respond to misconduct or the risk of misconduct using regulatory tools such as enforcement action
In the first half of the 2014 calendar year, ASIC reported that it has achieved 256 enforcement outcomes, with 83 enforcement outcomes in the “market integrity”, “corporate governance” and “financial services” areas, and 173 in the “small business compliance and deterrence” area. In particular, ASIC has focused on the activities of credit providers. This is because ASIC considers that the consumer credit industry has now had sufficient time to familiarise itself with its obligations under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth). As such, if ASIC becomes aware of breaches of the law, it is now more likely to take enforcement action to address its concerns. During the 6-month period covered by the report, ASIC has achieved a significant number of outcomes relating to consumer credit, including two criminal convictions, five infringement notices paid (totalling $71,400), six individuals permanently banned from engaging in credit activities, four individuals banned from, or giving an undertaking to refrain from, providing credit for between three and seven years, and seven Australian Credit Licences cancelled.
While ASIC will continue to take enforcement action in any area that it administers, ASIC has identified a number of enforcement areas it will be focusing on. These are:
- Treatment of confidential information
- Auditor and liquidator standards
- Advertising of financial products
- Benchmarks (relating to, for example, LIBOR and BBSW)
You can access ASIC’s full report (Report 402) via ASIC’s website.