ASIC to further target superannuation in 2024 priorities

22 November 2023
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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ASIC has announced its enforcement priorities for 2024, which include two new points relating to the superannuation industry.

With a greater spotlight on super, the corporate regulator has added a new priority on member services failures and misconduct relating to the erosion of superannuation balances. 

Moreover, new priorities relating to insurance claims handling, compliance with financial hardship obligations and the reportable situations regime have also made the list. 

Ongoing enforcement priorities continuing over from the previous year include greenwashing and enforcing design and distribution obligations (DDO).

Speaking at the ASIC annual forum in Melbourne, ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court elaborated on the regulator’s delivery of strong enforcement outcomes. 

“Last year, we set ambitious enforcement priorities in part as a response to industry and consumer demand for more transparency on our key areas of focus. The enforcement priorities hold us, as a regulator, accountable, and importantly, they send a clear compliance and deterrence message to the entities we regulate,” she said.

Court added that ASIC is taking matters to court and pursuing higher penalties than ever before, evident in the action it took against Australia’s biggest corporations and super funds this year.

This included action against both Vanguard and Active Super for greenwashing, as well as AustralianSuper over multiple superannuation accounts.

“We are not deterred from taking challenging cases where legal outcomes are not guaranteed,” she continued.

The super industry is no stranger to public pressure from ASIC. In a quarterly update earlier this month, the regulator identified superannuation as an area where it is taking stronger enforcement action.

ASIC chair Joseph Longo said: “The July to September quarter saw ASIC achieve strong results in court and file significant matters that go towards our ongoing work to protect consumers.

“Our focus on the best interests of members in the superannuation sector is part of our continuing work to make the financial system fair for all Australians.”

ASIC has also announced a new priority focused on technology and operational resilience for market operators as financial markets become more digitised and automated.

“Our goal is to create a culture of compliance across Australia’s financial system and the corporate sector more generally through decisive and high-profile enforcement action.”

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