ASIC, also known as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, is an independent government body in Australia. It regulates and supervises the country’s financial markets, corporations, and financial services industry. The primary objective of the ASIC is to promote fair and transparent financial markets and ensure the protection of investors, consumers, and creditors.
Structure of the ASIC
Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act 2001 monitors ASIC’s everyday functioning. It is also accountable to the Australian Parliament. The commission comprises a chairperson and up to six commissioners appointed by Governor-General. The commissioners are responsible for making decisions, ensuring a balanced approach to regulation.
ASIC is responsible for regulating and overseeing various sectors of the financial industry, including corporations, securities, derivatives, financial advice, and credit. It enforces laws and regulations to maintain market integrity and protect investors.
Licensing and Compliance
ASIC issues licenses and regulates individuals and businesses involved in financial services, including banks, insurance companies, brokers, and financial advisers. It sets and enforces standards of conduct to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
ASIC monitors and supervises financial markets, exchanges, and clearing and settlement facilities to maintain fair and efficient market operations. It promotes market integrity and investigates potential misconduct or market manipulation.
ASIC plays a vital role in safeguarding consumer interests by enforcing laws protecting consumers from unfair financial products and services practices. It educates and raises awareness among consumers to make informed financial decisions.
ASIC regulates companies’ corporate behaviour and disclosure requirements to ensure transparency, accountability, and compliance with corporate laws. It promotes good corporate governance practices to protect shareholders and other stakeholders.
Enforcement and Prosecution
ASIC investigates and takes enforcement actions against individuals and companies breaching financial laws. It can also initiate civil or criminal proceedings, impose penalties, and seek compensation for harmed parties.
What ASIC Regulates?
ASIC’s regulatory covers a wide range of areas, such as
- Company registration and compliance
- Financial services such as licensing and conduct of financial advisers and brokers
- Investment products and schemes
- Securities, such as shares and debentures
- Derivatives and futures contracts
- Credit activities, including licensing of lenders and debt collectors
- Takeovers and mergers
- Financial reporting and auditing standards for corporations
- Market misconduct, insider trading, and market manipulation