ASIC scheduled to be back in the Parliamentary committee hot seat

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) can expect another grilling over its handling of consumer submissions and its conduct since the interim resumption of its chair, James Shipton, when it appears before a key Parliamentary Committee next month.

The regulator was due to appear before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services last Friday but a change in the committee’s membership including its chairman meant that ASIC’s appearance is now scheduled for 19 March.

Following its most recent appearance before the committee ASIC answered a range of questions from NSW Liberal backbencher, Jason Falinski, including confirming that it had directly approached and commissioned two Griffith University academics to write a consumer submission relating to the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) code of ethics.

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Falinski is no longer a member of the reconstituted committee but his Queensland Liberal colleague and former financial adviser, Bert Van Manen, remains on the committee and its new chairman, Queensland backbencher, Andrew Wallace, has consulted with financial adviser constituents in his electorate of Fisher.

Next month’s PJC hearing will be the first occasion on which ASIC’s most senior executives will be appearing before the committee following the reinstatement of Shipton as chair of the regulator after he stood aside amid controversy surrounding the Commonwealth footing the bill for his personal tax advice.

While legal advice provided to the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, did not find any wrongdoing on Shipton’s part he nonetheless signaled his intention to leave the regulator following a search for his replacement, expected to be completed in late May or early June.

Shipton’s reinstatement has seen him resume working alongside ASIC deputy chair, Karen Chester, who expressed some critical views about how Shipton’s expenses issues and that of former ASIC deputy chair, Daniel Crennan, QC, had been handled.

Crennan subsequently resigned his position at ASIC.

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