Chair of FS Inquiry David Murray backs Governance Institute forum to ‘re-think’ ASIC

Governance Institute of Australia is holding a public forum to determine whether the role and responsibilities of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) should change to enhance the regulator’s ability to maintain the efficiency and integrity of Australia’s financial system.

David Murray AO, chair of the Financial Systems Inquiry, ASX chief executive, Elmer Funke Kupper and a panel of experts from the corporate, consumer, investor and legal sectors will today spearhead a robust public discussion on the issue of ‘what kind of corporate regulator does Australia need?’.

“This is an important conversation in the wake of questions that were raised about ASIC’s performance, funding and powers by the recent Senate and Financial System inquiries”, said Tim Sheehy, chief executive of Governance Institute.

“There are strong community expectations for ASIC to be more effective at cracking down on corporate wrongdoing. At the same time, it’s generally acknowledged that the regulator’s responsibilities have expanded far beyond its original focus. Yet, while its responsibilities today extend beyond regulating entities in the financial system to consumer credit and markets surveillance, deep budget cuts over the years have diminished ASIC’s capacity to meet public expectations.

“We are now at a crossroads. While the FSI has recommended changes to funding, have the expanded responsibilities diluted ASIC’s capacity to meet its charter? If the integrity of our markets and financial system relies on a strong and fearless regulator, we as stakeholders have an interest in ensuring that ASIC maintains its credibility as an effective watchdog,” Mr Sheehy said.

Today’s discussion forum launches a Governance Institute policy initiative which will feed into the government’s Capability Review of ASIC and support subsequent discussions with the government and opposition.

“There are big changes in store for ASIC. The registry business is about to be privatised, a three-year funding model is on the agenda, supported by a ‘user-pays’ regime, and the government has just opened a review of its current capabilities,” said Mr Sheehy.

“Governance Institute’s initiative complements these reforms by focusing on what ASIC’s core responsibilities should be in our 21st century economy.
“What should ASIC’s priorities be? How does ASIC best address the expectation gap between its duties and powers and the community's expectations? And what changes are needed to make ASIC a more proactive regulator? These are issues that are ripe for consideration if ASIC is to fulfil its role in an increasingly complex financial system”, Mr Sheehy concluded.

Panellists at the Governance Institute forum ‘What kind of corporate regulator does Australia need’ include: David Murray AO, Chair Financial System Inquiry; Christine McLoughlin, non-executive director, Suncorp Ltd; Professor Dimity Kingsford-Smith, Centre for Law, Markets & Regulations, UNSW; Gerard Brody, CEO, Consumer Action Law Centre; Elmer Funke Kupper, CEO & Managing Director, ASX Ltd; Stephen Roberts, CEO Citi Australia; Ewen Crouch AM, non-executive director, Westpac Group Ltd; Karen Phin, non-executive director, Magellan Asset Management Ltd; and Murugan Thangaraj, Senior Counsel specialising in white collar crime.

For further information contact Viv Hardy at CallidusPR on 0411 208 951 or Tim Sheehy at Governance Institute of Australia on 0419 490 594.

About Governance Institute of Australia

Governance Institute of Australia is the only independent professional association with a sole focus on the practice of governance. We provide the best education and support for practising chartered secretaries, governance advisers and risk managers to drive responsible performance in their organisations.

MR/2015/16

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