Superannuation funds face the same likelihood as financial advice firms of being subject to an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) search warrant under new exposure draft legislation revealed by the Government.
The draft legislation makes clear that ASIC would be able to seek a search warrant under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act as well as the Consumer Credit Protection Act and the Retirement Savings Account Act.
The key change contained in the legislation is that, unlike current arrangements, ASIC will no longer be required to forewarn targeted firms or funds about its intentions by issuing a notice to produce particular documents.
According to the explanatory materials accompanying the exposure draft, “this approach gives the Australian Federal Police and/or state police, and ASIC more flexibility in executing a search warrant, particularly if evidential material that was previously unknown to ASIC is discovered at the premises”.
It said that, as a consequence, ASIC will be able to search and seize a wider range of material relevant to its investigation.
“As search warrants are often sought and issued in circumstances where there is a reasonable concern that relevant evidence will be destroyed, tampered with or not produced under a notice, there may be situations where swift action is required to ensure that the effective execution of the warrant is not frustrated,” the explanatory materials said.