Are there still things to hide in financial services?

People who are pushing back on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) over its tough new litigatory approach might be seeking to hide somethings, according to the regulator’s chairman, James Shipton.

In an address to a Sydney forum, Shipton said that while it was only 50 days since the handing down of the final report of the Royal Commission, ASIC was already reading criticisms of its approach to litigation but countered with the claimed that ASIC’s mandate was crystal clear: “If the law is broken we need to enforce it”.

He said that ASIC was doing the job the community expected of it, and suggested that those who were pushing back against the regulator’s “clear mandate” either did not understand its mandate or believed it would use that mandate inappropriate.

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“Push back from this clear mandate concerns me though – it says:

  • Despite the Royal Commission there is resistance to a meaningful mindset change.
  • There is a fundamental misunderstanding of our broader fairness mandate and our statutory mandate to enforce the law.
  • It suggests we would use our powers inappropriately, irresponsibly and without foundation to, it has been suggested, unfairly target particular names.
  • Most importantly, it suggests there are still things to hide. 
  • These sentiments ultimately and unfortunately perpetuate an unhelpful culture of resistance and reluctance.
  • Accordingly, they run counter to our role of enforcing the law, protecting consumers and catalysing positive behavioural change. 

Shipton said the answer for such people was clear, “Don’t break the law”.


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