ASIC: Everything you need to know
|Level 5/100 Market St, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia
||Independent government body
||Jim Chalmers (treasurer of Australia)
Joseph Longo (chairman), Karen Chester (deputy chair) Sarah Court (deputy chair)
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) is the country’s corporate, markets, financial services, and consumer credit regulator. Set up under the Australian Securities and Investments Act 2001 (ASIC Act), the independent government body is tasked 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
- Receive, process, and store the information it receives efficiently and quickly
- Make information about companies and other bodies available to the public as soon as practicable
- Take whatever action it can, and which is necessary, to enforce and give effect to the law
ASIC has offices and staff, including a regional commissioner, in each state and territory capital.
ASIC, which reports to Australia’s treasurer, administers and enforces a range of legislation. This includes:
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act)
- Business Names Registration Act 2011
- Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act)
- Insurance Contracts Act 1984
- National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (National Credit Act)
The body also administers parts of the following legislation:
- Banking Act 1959
- Life Insurance Act 1995
- Medical Indemnity (Prudential Supervision and Product Standards) Act 2003
- Retirement Savings Accounts Act 1997
- Superannuation (Resolution of Complaints) Act 1993
- Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act)
These laws give ASIC the power it needs to perform its duties, which are designed to protect consumers against misconduct and harm relating to financial products and services. Among these are the power to:
|Register and license
- Register financial services providers
- Maintain publicly accessible registers
- Grant Australian financial services and credit licences
- Intervene to ban defective products
- Make legislative rules to ensure financial market integrity
- Grant relief from legislation
- Investigate suspected breaches
- Issue infringement notices
ASIC began operating in 1991 as the Australian Securities Commission (ASC), replacing the National Companies and Securities Commission (NCSC) and the Corporate Affairs offices of the states and territories.
In 1998, the body was renamed the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and took on responsibility for consumer protection in superannuation, insurance, and deposit taking. ASIC’s role, functions, and powers were set out in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act).
In 2010, the body took on additional responsibilities, including regulating trustee companies, consumer credit, and finance broking, and supervising trading on Australian-licensed equity, derivatives, and futures markets.
Starting July 2019, all ASIC’s staff are employed under the ASIC Act to ensure it attracts and retains people with capabilities to deliver improved market outcomes for all Australians.
Leadership at ASIC
Joseph Longo – chairman and accountable authority
Longo commenced as chairman of ASIC in June 2021. He was also the national director of enforcement of the body for five years, responsible for the coordination and direction of all enforcement and litigation activities.
Longo recently served as a senior adviser at major law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, specialising in regulatory matters, enforcement, commercial law, and internal legal matters. He was also a former partner at the firm.
Longo was also the general counsel for Deutsche Bank in London and Hong Kong for 17 years, advising on a range of regulatory issues, governance, infrastructure, and non-financial risk. He holds a Bachelor of Jurisprudence and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Western Australia and a Master of Laws from Yale Law School.
ASIC adopts a “people strategy” that focuses on ensuring that it recruits and retains exceptional staff from a variety of disciplines with the relevant skills, experience, and capabilities.
The body is also committed to workplace diversity and fostering an inclusive environment where all employees, stakeholders, and the communities they serve are treated with fairness and respect.
This commitment is supported by a range of diversity and inclusion initiatives, including the:
- Accessibility Action Plan, which aims to make ASIC “accessible and disability-inclusive”
- Reconciliation Action Plan, which is designed to provide services for and ensure the protection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers and investors
- Multicultural Action Plan, which outlines its commitment to ensuring that the body’s programs and services meet the needs of all Australians, regardless of their cultural and linguistic backgrounds
- Rainbow Network Action Plan, which aims to provide an inclusive culture where all people, including members of the LGBTIQ+ community, can reach their full potential and have equal access to development, promotion, services and opportunities