ASIC wants product sales training powers

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) wants the ability to intervene in training associated with the sale of financial products.

The regulator has told the Senate Economics Legislation Committee that its efforts would be assisted if legislative limitations were removed with respect to the training of staff.

In doing so, it hinted that having such a power might preclude it from needing to move to extreme actions such as product bans.

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ASIC failed in earlier attempts to have the Government amend the Treasury Laws Amendment (Design and Distribution Obligations and Product Intervention Powers) Bill 2018 to include its ability to deal with training.

However, the bill finally introduced to the Parliament fell short of ASIC’s request, prompting the regulator to note the limitation.

“Under the Bill, ASIC would generally be able to make interventions relating to a product or class of products,” it said. “However, we could not require a person to satisfy a standard of training, or meet a professional standard, other than a standard prescribed for the person by or under the Corporations Act.”

ASIC said that if the training limitation was removed, “it would provide us with a useful additional alternative to address identified consumer harm”.

“In some cases, it could be the best possible solution to the problem,” it claimed.

“We acknowledge that with the training limitation in place, we may be able to find other ways to address the market problem,” the ASIC submission said. “However, the form of the intervention could be blunter and more intrusive (such as, at the extreme end of the range, a product banning).”

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