ASIC has today published its Interim Corporate Plan, which sets out five priorities to tackle the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic:
- protecting consumers from harm at a time of heightened vulnerability
- maintaining financial system resilience and stability
- supporting Australian businesses to respond to the effects of COVID-19
- continuing to identify, disrupt and take enforcement action against the most harmful conduct, and
- continuing to build our organisational capacity in challenging times.
The Interim Corporate Plan is a result of ASIC’s modified strategic planning process for the 2020-21 year, in response to the impact of COVID-19 on the financial system. Our immediate focus has been on assessing the key vulnerabilities in our regulated sectors in the current environment and developing targeted strategic priorities.
‘The priorities identified in this Corporate Plan enable us to focus on activities that directly address the needs of consumers and firms as they respond to COVID-19,’ said ASIC Chair James Shipton.
‘Examples of new activities that flow from this plan include:
- cross-ASIC working groups on scams, unlicensed advice and misleading advertising
- expanding our markets supervision work to support fair and orderly operation of markets and to ensure investors are appropriately informed
- providing relief in relation to capital raising, shareholder meetings and reporting, and financial advice
- ensuring that there are measures in place to assist consumers who experience hardship, especially in relation to credit and insurance, and
- facilitating access to effective advice when individuals are considering seeking early access to their superannuation.’
At the same time, ASIC has published an update on the timing of key outputs over the coming months, reflecting changes from our adjusted work program announced on 14 April 2020.
This now includes information on proposed timing of consultation and release of regulatory guidance in relation to legislation implementing the recommendations of the Financial Services Royal Commission.
‘The revised timetable of ongoing work is an important step in assisting the transition of the business community and broader economy to a post-pandemic world,’ Mr Shipton said.
‘However, it is important to note that the fact that some work has been delayed longer than would otherwise be desirable is not an abrogation of our regulatory work, but a recognition that some existing activities and new tasks must take precedence over work we would otherwise be doing. Indeed, a number of important enforcement outcomes have been achieved in the past two months, as the courts have continued to hear matters and deliver judgments.’
For those Royal Commission measures deferred for introduction by 30 June 2021, ASIC will continue to engage with stakeholders in relation to the timing of consultations of associated guidance.
Matters referred to in our 14 April 2020 statement that remain on hold are detailed on ASIC’s website.