Should the industry be paying for ASIC’s policy advice to Govt?

At the same time as financial planning firms and advisers lament a forecast 60% increase in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) levies it has been confirmed they are, in part, paying for the regulator to provide policy advice to Government.

Policy advice is usually provided to the Government as part of the general functions of Government departments and agencies, but the latest ASIC Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) detailing its user-pays and cost-recovery approach has outlined a distinct and individual line-item of “policy advice”.

For the financial planning elements of the CRIS the “policy advice” line item is a comparatively modest $115,000 which falls under the broader general heading of “Budgeted costs to regulate licensees that provide personal advice to retail clients on relevant financial products”.

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For its part, ASIC explains what it does with respect to providing policy advice as being:

  • Research and analyse innovation, competition and emerging harms;
  • Provide proposals for law reform and assist in its development;
  • Identify and plan for the impact on external stakeholders and internal capabilities; and
  • Provide submissions to parliamentary and Government inquiries on law reform issues.

The good news for financial advisers is that the amount ASIC is attributing to policy advice for them is lower than that for insurance companies $447,000 and superannuation funds $1.456 million.

The cost of ASIC providing policy advice to Government and other entities has been revealed not long after discussion around whether the regulator’s role should be narrowed to policing rather than policy-making in the wake of debate around governance issues involving the payment of expenses for the chairman, James Shipton and his deputy, Daniel Crennan.

Both men have been cleared of any wrongdoing but Crennan resigned his post and the Government is recruiting to replace Shipton.

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We are paying for ASIC to sit around and dream up new ways to screw us. That's all they ever do. It's a sick world

But wait, it's all good news...

They're spending more time sitting around dreaming up ways to screw insurance companies and Superannuation funds than us. :P

Just look at how successful they've been with that PYS legislation, etc last year!!!

If we are paying, them lets use this power we finally have and control policy. Why does the FPA not want this power - Ben Marshan is a strange fish?

ASIC plays an enormous role in policy making, regardless of any advice they give government. The Corps Act is extremely complex and ambiguous and ASIC has enormous discretion in deciding how it should be interpreted and enforced. This gives ASIC the ability to make and implement their own policy, independently of the elected government.

If ASIC's policy is that all current financial advisers should be persecuted as revenge for the failings of some financial advisers in the past, they can easily do this through draconian and discriminatory action within the discretionary powers they have.

If ASIC's policy is that union super funds should be allowed to break consumer protection laws with immunity, they can easily do this by saying "we didn't think the level of harm warranted further action".

If ASIC's policy is to allow accountants to give unlicensed superannuation & investment advice they can easily do this by saying "we don't have enough resources to monitor this, and anyway everyone knows that accountants are all trustworthy, just like my good friend Alex Malley".

Well said.

ASIC is corrupt.

Hopefully the LNP and their enquiry into Super and the lack of action on the ISA/Union funds will finally bring them to heel and at least pretend to act unbiased.

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