Wednesday 15 November 2006 LAWFUEL – Law News, Law Jobs Network – The Chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Mr Jeffrey Lucy today said the regulator was continuing to deliver well on its Better Regulation initiatives, announced in May 2006. ‘Our Better Regulation program contains a number of initiatives we committed to delivering this year and next.
We are making good progress in delivering on the program launched in May and will issue a comprehensive update on our work in January 2007’, Mr Lucy said. ASIC’s Better Regulation priorities are to: • improve transparency and accessibility; • reduce duplication and overlap; • better understand ASIC’s business impact; • streamline and reduce paperwork; and • engage further with stakeholders. Transparency and accessibility ASIC has published on the www.asic.gov.au website: • the ASIC Service Charter; and • ASIC: a guide to how we work which explains ASIC’s most important processes, how ASIC is organised and accountable, and how ASIC approaches its work.
ASIC has also updated and published Policy Statement 51: Applications for Relief which explains how relief applications are dealt with. Next steps include: • the publication of a report on ASIC’s performance against the indicators in the Service Charter to illustrate how requests from the regulated population and complaints from the public are dealt with. ASIC will provide end-December results in January, and continue to provide regular reports; • providing templates for relief applications to follow the updated Policy Statement 51: Applications for Relief; • the publication of a guide outlining the services ASIC provides consumers and investors; and • the release of guidance on enforceable undertakings, with example documents for industry and advisers.
ASIC is also working on: • enhancing the www.asic.gov.au website so that it is easier to navigate and search; • rationalising and redesigning its regulatory documents. ASIC will reduce the different types of documents published, and use simpler templates.
ASIC has consulted users about what they would like to see, and the design of new templates is underway; and • producing guidance on how ASIC approaches its compliance and enforcement work. Reducing duplication and overlap ASIC’s Working Group with APRA is reviewing areas of regulatory overlap or duplication and evaluating how they might be resolved. The Working Group is looking at the: • collection of financial reporting data by ASIC and APRA; • licensing requirements for superannuation trustees; and • breach notifications by regulated entities. APRA and ASIC will issue a joint progress report shortly.
Better understanding business impact ASIC is keen to better understand the impact of its actions on the entities it regulates, and the costs incurred by business in complying with the laws it administers and the policies and guidance it issues. ASIC has examined various models of business and regulatory impact analysis, both in Australia and overseas. ASIC complies with government requirements to prepare regulatory impact statements for policy and guidance, and is liaising with the new Office of Best Practice Regulation about the new requirements to be announced shortly.
ASIC is also discussing partnership arrangements with key industry bodies to further analyse the costs incurred as a result of the regulatory regime it administers. It is seeking to promote informed public debate on the costs and benefits of regulation by working with other regulators, industry and the academic community. ASIC is also commissioning research on how to quantify the costs and benefits of financial services regulation. Streamlining and paperwork reduction ASIC has developed a draft auditor registration kit for consultation with the audit profession, and will review the methods by which it processes auditor registration applications. It is also working on analysing and addressing common lodgement issues and complaints for the 1.48 million companies it regulates. This will help streamline internal processes, and facilitate the improvement of lodgement and registry services. ASIC will also examine the numerous Corporations Act forms it is responsible for administering as part of its public registry function, to identify opportunities to reduce the data that business needs to provide without affecting the quality of information contained on the public registers.
Engagement with stakeholders In 2005 ASIC reviewed its industry liaison arrangements across a number of sectors. This led to the establishment of a program in the financial services area of regular liaison with boards of key industry associations, periodic consultation with the industry collectively, and liaison with senior technical and operational staff. ASIC has now held two series of roundtable discussions with its Financial Services Consultative Committee in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
In July 2006, ASIC established a Business Consultative Panel to foster more effective dialogue with the business community on current and emerging market issues and risks. The Panel’s two Chapters, one based in Sydney and chaired by the ASIC Chairman, and one in Melbourne, chaired by ASIC’s Deputy Chairman. By year-end both of these panels will have met twice. ASIC will also be establishing a consultative forum for small-to-medium enterprises, with a focus on the particular needs of smaller enterprises. ASIC invites people with suggestions on improving regulation in Australia to email: [email protected] For further information contact: Danielle Huck ASIC Media Unit Telephone: 03 9280 3407 Mobile: 0417 540 769 Page 3 of 3