8 November 2017
Media Release - #2017110, 2017

ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce consults on ASIC’s directions power

The Turnbull Government welcomes today’s release by the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce of the positions paper ‘ASIC’s Directions Power’.

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said the Government is committed to ensuring that ASIC can respond effectively to address compliance failures within licensed financial services and credit businesses.

In its final report, the Financial System (Murray) Inquiry recommended that ASIC should have more capacity to impose conditions requiring licensees to address concerns about serious or systemic non-compliance with licence obligations.

This positions paper proposes an ASIC directions power triggered where a contravention of financial services or credit law has, is, or will occur, and in other limited circumstances. Under the power, ASIC could give a direction to a licensee relating to the conduct of its business, including ceasing to accept new clients or requiring an audit of records.

“The proposed directions power would allow ASIC to take steps to protect consumers by preventing harm before the damage is done,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

This is the eighth and final positions paper from the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce, with the Taskforce final report due at the end of November.

The Taskforce was established in October 2016 with terms of reference that allow for a thorough examination of the adequacy of ASIC's enforcement regime, to deter misconduct and foster consumer confidence in the financial system.

Membership of the Taskforce includes senior members of the Treasury, ASIC, the Attorney-General’s Department and the office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, as well as representatives from industry bodies, consumer groups and academia.

The position paper is available on the Treasury website. Interested stakeholders are invited to comment. Submissions for the consultations will close on 20 November 2017.