Stephen Jones (source ASIC)

With another Senate review and consultation into ASIC’s enforcement responsibilities underway, the financial services minister will take a hands-off approach.

Senator Andrew Bragg announced a review into oversight of ASIC’s enforcement abilities last week, while ASIC released its report on breach reporting to the industry.

Bragg had taken issue with ASIC’s expanded power and lack of enforcement. The scope of the inquiry will cover whether external dispute resolution services (i.e. AFCA) and the Compensation Scheme of Last Resort (CSLR) distorts regulatory enforcement – an issue the senator flagged during CSLR legislative hearings.

Speaking at the ASIC conference on Thursday morning in Sydney, Jones requested the review but asked that it be done “effectively and efficiently” noting that he will reach across the aisle to discuss the enquiry with the opposition.

“I’m a big believer in an independent regulator; it should be independent from executive government,” Jones said.

“We set expectations… but the regulator is accountable through our laws to the parliament. Our regulator is pretty well overseen.”

He added there were already several oversight bodies and committees for the regulator and that he would like to make sure the impending review does not overlap.

“I 100 per cent support the need for parliament to scrutinise the operations of the regulator.”

Strategic choices

In an address to delegates at the conference, ASIC chair Joseph Longo said the regulator remained committed to being a “strong and active” litigator against misconduct.