ASIC admits it has levy discretion

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has formally admitted to a Parliamentary committee that it does have discretion over its handling of the so-called ASIC levy. 

“ASIC has the discretion to waive levies in exceptional circumstances. ASIC also considers applications to pay levies via a payment plan in cases of financial hardship,” the regulator has told the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services. 

In doing so, ASIC effectively shifted from its position that the levy was mechanical and closer to the stated view of the Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Digital Economy, Senator Jane Hume. 

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“ASIC, as an independent regulator, has discretion over the allocation of resources. ASIC’s strategic planning framework is designed to monitor our operating environment, identify threats and behaviours that lead to harm (through our threats, harms and behaviours framework), and prioritise those harms that need to be addressed,” it said. 

The regulator also made clear that the additional monies it had expended around pursuing the banks and AMP with respect to matters raised at the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Bank, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry had actually been budgeted by the Government to be funded by the industry, including via the ASIC levy. 

“The increase in 2019/20 levies for the ‘Licensees that provide personal advice on relevant financial products to retail clients’ subsector has largely been due to additional funding that ASIC received in relation to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (Royal Commission) and a related increase in ASIC’s costs,” it said. 

“The Government increased ASIC’s budget by $404 million over four years in the 2019/20 Budget in response to the Royal Commission findings. The additional funding was provided to ASIC to provide capacity for ASIC to meet the level of regulatory activity expected by the community and Government in response to conduct within the financial services industry.” 

“The Government agreed at the time of increasing ASIC’s budget that the additional funding would be recovered under ASIC’s industry funding arrangements. Against this backdrop of additional funding and increase in ASIC costs, the total number of financial advisers decreased 17% from 24,919 in 2018/19 to 21,308 in 2019/20.” 

“A combination of an increase in total costs to be recovered, and a decrease in the number of advisers year on year, resulted in the graduated levy component increase from $1,142 in 2018/19 to $2,426 per adviser in the 2019/20.” 

“Where ASIC is successful in court, any costs awarded and paid to ASIC will be credited to the relevant subsector(s), with the levy for those subsectors reduced accordingly. There is likely to be a delay between when costs are incurred and when costs are recovered, which means levies for one financial year will include ASIC’s enforcement costs, but with any crediting of costs likely to occur in another financial year.” 

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If I misrepresented to a client a fact like this, I would be banned. These guys are beyond. And they only corrected themselves after being caught.

We call that one a "Double Standard"!

Corrupt ASIC and Daniella Press yet again caught out telling absolute lies.
How is it that the so called Corporate Cops have no laws or ethics applied to themselves ?
- lie about Adviser Levy
- lie about personal expenses billed to tax payers
- lie about Adviser Churn Life insurance issue
- lie about SMSF expense fact sheet
- lie about Reducing Advice costs and red tape
- lie about colluding with Banks FFNS 10 years
They have zero Ethics and zero Respect or Trust of the Real Adviser profession.
Drain the ASIC swamp and start again with Real Advisers actually involved.

... Lies about industry fund misbehaviour, lies about the 43% fail rate for life insurance advice (it was NOT a representative sample), lies about corrupting the FASEA consultation process with paid submissions supporting their unworkable anti-adviser ideology, lies about ongoing financial advice (the long tail!!!?) not being of value to consumers in their royal commission correspondence, lies about their failures to quickly stamp out unlicensed fraudsters, lies about labelling unlicensed operators as financial advisers. All we get from ASIC are lies, lies and more BS red tape and extreme interpretations of the law. This is the mob who won't let you meet with a client earlier than the 12 month anniversary, not even one day early, to sign the new annual renewal consent. All they do is sit around and dream up the most convoluted, insane ways to disrupt, defame and damage the financial advice profession.

ASIC has enormous discretion over the way laws are interpreted and enforced. They have more power than elected politicians.
If they actually used this power fairly and impartially to protect consumers no-one would mind. But they don't. ASIC is a rogue regulator.

ASIC is out of control, imposing massive costs that have to be passed onto consumers (yet another tax RISE). How long do we have to put up with Frydenberg's shambolic mismanagement in this area?

This is absolutely unbelievable! No, wait, why should I be surprised? Josh Frydenberg, my own local member, is single handedly driving advisers to extinction. How come no-one up there in Canberra can understand - apart from the one or two whose voices are not listened to? Why is ASIC still in existence? For the last twenty years, at least, advisers have been slowly expiring under the weight of red tape. Red tape which Josh himself was once given the job of reducing. What we are hearing now are the death throes of a once viable and useful group of people who only want to provide advice and support to those in our communities who cannot navigate the increasingly complex fields of superannuation, investments, life insurance, Centrelink, tax and aged care. Who is going to look after all these people when experienced and compassionate advisers have been driven to insolvency by Govt "levies", PII increases, and the costs of out-of-control regulatory burdens? It really is a sad time.

Ok so will we all get a credit in a few years when all these big fines wash through the system? Or will asic simply require more resources as time goes on? Can anyone from asic lie straight in bed, thats more the question. Talk about double speak and backtracking, is this what they learn on those fancy retreats?

Both the Government and ASIC knew adviser numbers would decrease substantially over the forward estimates given i.. Bank divestment of wealth arms which had already started prior to the release of the Royal Commission Report but moreover ii. the combination of the FASEA exam and education requirements deadlines and LIF reforms for risk advisers in particular (who coincidentally are the largest group on a prorata basis to leave the industry). For both Government agencies and ultimately the Minister to deny they would have known about these factors is deceptive in the least.

If they aren't stealing money for personal expenses they are lying to everyone to protect their budgets. What a great example the regulator sets for others. Everyone look out for more banning announcements from ASIC over the next few weeks to distract from their utter incompetence and corruption.

if only such obvious spin and half truth were the domain of our elected officials! we have to cop it from our most powerful yet useless regulator. They are supposed to be beyond reproach, yet have been found out again and again to be militant towards the advice industry and willing to blatantly lie in order to enhance their optics...they are a disgrace really and no better than some of the real crooks they purport to prosecute

We pay a levy to fund ASIC who appear to want to nail us instead of supporting and assisting us. What other industry or profession is faced with such a choice?

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