The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released its quarterly report for the April to June 2021 period, detailing its steps to support Australia’s economic recovery.
During the second quarter of 2021, ASIC identified harms, addressed misconduct, and protected customers and investors by taking enforcement action against reckless investment promoters and issuing consumer warnings to address the increase in scam-related activity. It also monitored its regulatory impact on businesses’ ability to withstand and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic effects.
On April 15, 2021, ASIC extended record of advice relief to help the financial advice industry provide consumers with affordable and timely advice during the pandemic. This enabled financial advisers to provide a record of advice, rather than a statement of advice, to existing clients requiring financial advice due to the impact of the pandemic.
Then, on April 23, ASIC extended the deadline for listed and unlisted entities to lodge financial reports by one month to help smaller entities experiencing pandemic-related resourcing pressures, such as travel restrictions and increased staff turnover.
During the same month, ASIC informed insurance company directors of its expectations after reviewing insurers’ responses to consumers experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic.
The regulator also detailed how it continued to provide industry guidance on new laws commencing in October 2021, such as the expanded breach-reporting requirements and product design and distribution regulations.
On June 11, 2021, ASIC met with the government, industry, and fellow regulators on the Council of Financial Regulators to further support economic recovery. It also expanded its team this quarter by appointing Joseph Longo as its new chair and Sarah Court as its new deputy chair.
Other actions taken by ASIC to help the country’s economic recovery can be found on its website.
For the rest of 2021, ASIC will conduct its regular reviews of the full-year financial reports of selected larger listed entities and other public interest entities on June 30, 2021. Its reviews will focus on entities and industries most affected by the pandemic.
“The remainder of 2021 will see ASIC continue to identify, disrupt, and review pervasive scam activity. This work will include education, communications, and social media campaigns to raise investor awareness of how to avoid money scams, and ASIC will take enforcement action, where appropriate,” it said in a statement.
“ASIC will also check-in at various stages of the implementation of the new IDR requirements and assess whether expectations about preparation are being met by industry.”