The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has announced it will recalibrate its regulatory priorities to focus on COVID-19 challenges, suspending all not time-critical matters such as the consultation paper on managed discretionary accounts (MDAs), among others.
The regulator said it would afford priority to ‘other matters’ with regards to where there would be the risk of significant consumer harm, serious breaches of the law and risk to both market integrity and time-critical matters.
This means it would suspend a number of not time-critical near-term activities such as consultation, regulatory reports and reviews, including executive remuneration, updated internal dispute resolution guidance and a consultation paper on managed discretionary accounts (MDAs), among others.
“ASIC is committed to working constructively and pragmatically with the firms we regulate, mindful they may encounter difficulties in complying with their regulatory obligations due to the impact of COVID-19,” the regulator said in the announcement.
ASIC would also suspend its enhanced onsite supervisory work such as the Close and Continuous Monitoring Program but it would work with financial institutions to further accelerate the payment of outstanding remediation to customers and would take account of the circumstances in which lenders, acting reasonably, are currently operating when administering the law.
“ASIC will maintain its enforcement activities and continue to investigate and take action where the public interest warrants us to do so against any person or entity that breaks the law,” the regulator said.
“However, it will focus on action necessary to prevent immediate consumer harm, egregious illegal conduct and other time critical matters.”