The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) wants more freedom to hire staff and has offered to give up some of its responsibilities to make its role as a regulator more effective.
In its second submission to the 2014 Financial System Inquiry, ASIC proposes that it be relieved of the task of registering business names with
responsibility transferred to other Agencies.
“ASIC’s remit should be narrowed by removing our registry responsibilities,” the Agency’s submission says.
ASIC’s initial submission proposed adding a “competition objective” to the Agency’s considerations as well as lifting standards in financial advice,
managing systemic risk, improving conduct, prescribing penalties and instituting a better funding model for itself.
Addressing the role of the regulator in its latest submission, ASCI said significant opportunities for economies of scale existed by combining other ‘like’
registers with ASIC’s registry business.
“However, we are firmly of the view that ASIC should remain an integrated regulator with consumer and investor protection functions and market integrity
functions,” it said.
ASIC said it had highly qualified and experienced staff but the requirement for ASIC staff to be engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 (Public
Service Act) presents challenges.
“We consider that the ASIC Act should be amended to provide greater flexibility for ASIC to attract and retain staff,” it said.
ASIC, addressing areas raising in the Inquiry’s interim report, said it saw “enhancing ASIC’s ability to deliver on its fundamental objective of enabling
markets to efficiently allocate capital” as one of the greatest opportunities for changes to the current regulatory settings, along with ” building a
financial system that met the financial needs of all Australians”.
The Agency said there was “potential to achieve better regulatory outcomes by adopting a more autonomous budget and funding process for ASIC”.
“We outlined a user pays funding model in our main submission to this inquiry,” it said.
“This would result in greater cost accountability for ASIC and regular consultation with stakeholders to establish the funding level.”
ASIC also said it supported the introduction of independent performance reviews for regulators at three-year to five-year intervals.
The National Commission of Audit suggested that ASIC’s registry arm be transferred to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and that ASIC’s consumer
protection function be moved to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The full submission can be viewed at this PS News link.