Australia Securities and Investments Commission

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Overview

ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.

They contribute to Australia’s economic reputation and well being by ensuring that Australia’s financial markets are fair and transparent, supported by confident and informed investors and consumers.

They are an independent Commonwealth Government body. They are set up under and administer the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act (ASIC Act), and carry out most of their work under the Corporations Act.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 requires them to:

  • maintain, facilitate and improve the performance of the financial system and entities in it
  • promote confident and informed participation by investors and consumers in the financial system
  • administer the law effectively and with minimal procedural requirements
  • enforce and give effect to the law
  • receive, process and store, efficiently and quickly, information that is given to us
  • make information about companies and other bodies available to the public as soon as practicable.

Recent News - April 2010

The Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law the Hon Chris Bowen MP released a reform package for the future of financial advice as a result of the Ripoll Inquiry. Some of the main reforms announced by the Minister include:

  • The introduction of a statutory fiduciary duty so that financial advisers must act in the best interests of their clients, subject to a ‘reasonable steps’ qualification;
  • A prospective ban on commissions and volume based payments by 1 July 2012, in relation to the distribution and advice of retail investment products including managed investments, superannuation and margin loans. This excludes life insurance products;
  • Improvements in access and affordability measures with the removal of advice barriers for super and a review of other areas;
  • Asset-based fees will be permitted to be charged but only on ungeared products or investment amounts (as agreed to with the retail investor); and
  • Enhanced powers for ASIC in relation to licensing and banning of individuals.

A similar regulator change is underway in the United Kingdom under the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

External Links

For more information see the ASIC Web Site