The Federal Government has released draft legislation which will deliver the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) search warrant powers equivalent to those enjoyed by the Federal Policy under the Crimes Act.
The exposure draft of the legislation was released by the Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and the Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Services Technology, Senator Jane Hume.
The proposed legislation does the following:
- Strengthens ASIC's licensing powers by replacing the AFS Licence requirement that a person be of 'good fame and character' with an on-going requirement that they be a 'fit and proper person';
- Aligns the penalties for false and misleading statements in AFS and Australian Credit Licence applications;
- Extends ASIC's powers so that they may ban a person from performing functions in a financial services or credit business. The legislation also expands the grounds on which ASIC can issue banning orders;
- Harmonises ASIC's Search Warrant powers across different Acts and brings them into line with the search warrant powers in the Crimes Act; and
- Allows interception agencies to provide lawfully intercepted information to ASIC for serious offences that ASIC can investigate or prosecute.
Frydenberg said the exposure draft legislation was further evidence of the Government’s commitment to strengthening financial regulators such as ASIC.