ASIC has suspended the work it is doing on managed discretionary accounts, which it has spent the past 18 months collecting data for, the regulator confirmed on Monday.
The suspension of ASIC’s managed discretionary accounts project, which the regulator was planning to take industry consultation on, was part of a series of projects it halted in light of the COVID-19 impact.
While ASIC specifically mentioned the suspension of its MDA consultation, it was vague about other areas that could expect to have less oversight from regulation at this challenging time.
“In issuing information-gathering notices, ASIC has provided new guidance to our staff – mindful that many notice recipients may be facing significant disruption.
“By taking these actions, industry participants will be better placed to focus on their immediate priorities and the needs of their customers at this difficult time,” ASIC noted in a statement.
In addition to suspending its MDA project, the ASIC statement also specifically stated it had suspended its report on executive remuneration, its updated internal dispute resolution guidance, and on-site supervisory work such as the ‘Close and Continuous Monitoring Program’.
In the the last 18 months or so ASIC has been monitoring the MDA and separately managed accounts market, the regulator served notices under its compulsory information powers to nine platform operators, seven managed account providers, and two dealer groups, Rhys Bollen, ASIC’s senior executive leader of investment managers, told Professional Planner’s Researcher Forum in December.
ASIC was planning for the findings of its ongoing study in this area to play a role in future policy changes, Bollen noted.
While the regulator said it plans to maintain enforcement activities and continue to investigate and take action where the public interest “warrants us to do so against any person or entity that breaks the law”, it also highlights its plans to focus on “action necessary to prevent immediate consumer harm, egregious illegal conduct and other time critical matters.”
ASIC described its registry operations and services, receipt of whistleblower, breach and misconduct reports and “general contact points for industry” as key business as usual functions that will be maintained.