The corporate regulator will use its discretionary powers to hold disciplinary panels in circumstances beyond the prescribed events, according to a blueprint for the operation of its Financial Services Credit Panel (FSCP) released Monday afternoon.

The blueprint, in the form of a consultation around new guidance on the FSCP that incorporate its role as the industry’s Single Disciplinary Body, details the circumstances that would give rise to a panel sitting.

The consultation explains that ASIC will convene a panel when “convening circumstances” require it, such as when an adviser is not a “fit and proper person to provide personal advice” or has contravened either the education and training standards or financial services law.

Additionally, the regulator proposes giving itself room to conduct panels when it sees fit.

“ASIC may also convene a sitting panel at our discretion at any time, even if the convening circumstances are not present,” the consultation states.

It’s likely these scenarios will arise when ASIC is unsure if the requirement for convening circumstances has been met, and is keen to leverage the expertise of panel members to come to a decision.

“A sitting panel acts separately from, but alongside, ASIC’s own administrative decision-making processes and has a range of powers to enable it to consider and respond to a range of misconduct by, and circumstances relating to, financial advisers.”

Likely catalyst

The consultation on ASIC’s FSCP comes after a drawn out period of consternation over its operation that saw ASIC express impatience with the ministers office, admitting it had “no idea” when disciplinary panels should sit in October last year.

After a ministerial delay in naming the new panel members, financial services minister Jane Hume released a list of 31 industry representatives for the new, beefed up FSCP in mid-February.

The announcement of the panel ‘pool’ was the likely catalyst for ASIC to finalise its consultation on Regulatory Guide 263, Financial Services and Credit Panel, which dates back to 2017.

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