Give us competition powers says ASIC

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is continuing to press the Parliament for it to be handed competition powers.

The regulator’s continuing campaign to be given competition powers has been evidenced by its new chairman, James Shipton, who has told the Senate Economics Legislation Committee “it is important ASIC has a proactive mandate to consider competition issues in making regulatory decisions”.

The handing of competition powers to ASIC has been supported by recent work undertaken by the Productivity Commission and has been canvassed as an additional means of helping it deal with the vertically-integrated activities of the major banks.

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For his part, Shipton said that ASIC’s perspective on competition was to identify where consumer harm and poor conduct resulted from where competition was not operating effectively.

“Addressing these issues often requires a specific regulatory response, which requires consideration of competition issues,” he said.

“To the extent possible, ASIC has taken this kind of tailored approach to various competition problems in financial markets. Our work on add-on insurance sold through car yards is a good example,” Shipton said.

“However, to continue this approach, it is important ASIC has a proactive mandate to consider competition issues when making regulatory decisions,” he said.




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They need to be very careful here about what power they hand them. The point of having separate powers with separate entities is to stop any one entity exhibiting overt bias. If this power is handed to them then does this mean they will look at vertical integration of ISA funds as well? It's difficult to see how they can be expert handlers of both regulatory and competition issues but clearly they are wanting to build castles. Why not just get them to share with the ACCC or productivity commission - why do they need powers to do that.

Why give them more power? They will just make it more difficult for business to operate, punish good businesses with excessive regulation and then pat themselves on the back when they catch someone doing the wrong thing after the horse has bolted? Deja vu all over again?

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