ASIC priorities for 2022-26: Corporate plan

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”), Australia’s corporate, markets, financial services, and consumer credit regulator, has released its Corporate Plan 2022-26 with a focus on the period of 2022-23 (“Corporate Plan 2022-26”). The Corporate Plan 2022-26 highlights the strategic priorities for the following four years, and the strategies to be used for the successful implementation and delivery of these priorities.

background

ASIC prepares and releases corporate plans annually in August illustrating its priorities with an aim to develop plans and commitments which will be used to guide its actions for effective future outcomes. However, despite the corporate plans prepared and released every year, ASIC seeks to remain flexible and responsive to changes in the regulatory environment and to adapt accordingly. ASIC states that it commits to being held accountable for progress and performance of its corporate plans before the commonwealth parliament and its committees (namely the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services) and the Financial Regulator Assessment Authority.

corporate plan 2022-26

The priorities as set out in the Corporate Plan 2022-26 emphasise consumer protection and digital compatibility. ASIC further extends its focus to other digitally enabled misconduct in response to emerging technologies and products, such as scams and crypto assets.  Additionally, ASIC acknowledges its continuing priorities from corporate plans published in previous years. For example, the enhancement of cyber and operational resilience remain on top of its priorities list in the Corporate Plan 2022-26 from last year’s corporate plan (2021-25).

Furthermore, the Corporate Plan 2022-26 also highlights several key external and internal strategic priorities that aim to enhance the way ASIC administers the law, as well as the engagement and interaction with stakeholders.

external priorities 

ASIC’s external priorities identify and address significant threats in the regulatory environment. Over the next four years (2022-26) ASIC will be prioritising the production of effective regulation in the areas of product design and distribution, sustainable finance, retirement decision making and technology risks.

ASIC aims to effectively regulate these areas and consequently:

  • reduce risk of harm to financial and credit product consumers;
  • support market integrity through proactive supervision and enforcement of environmental, government and social standards;
  • protect retirement planning and decision making; and
  • mitigate digitally enabled risks and misconduct.

ASIC plans to deliver on these priorities by engaging in eight core strategic projects as follows:

  1. Scams: ASIC will work with other agencies to take a data-informed approach to target and disrupt investment scams.
  2. Sustainable finance practices: ASIC will focus on combating issues of greenwashing and ineffective climate and sustainability governance and disclosure.
  3. Crypto-assets: ASIC will implement strategies to protect investors from associate harms that fall within their remit to preserve the integrity of Australian markets.
  4. Design and distribution obligations: ASIC will expect compliance with the appropriate designing and targeting of products to consumers.
  5. Breach reporting: Reports that are lodged under the Reportable Situations regime scheme enable early detection of non-compliant behaviours and trends. ASIC also has an obligation to publish information about reportable situations under the regime.
  6. Cyber and operational resilience: ASIC plans to work on raising awareness and taking proactive supervisory actions to encourage better management of cyber risks and practices.
  7. Financial Accountability Regime (‘‘FAR’’): ASIC will continue to work closely with APRA to implement the FAR regime through guidance, engagement, and effective registration process.
  8. Digital technology and data: ASIC seek to improve its capabilities as a leading digitally enabled and data-informed regulator by using data and technology in a timely and accurate manner to mitigate harm, support decision making and drive efficient regulation.

internal priorities

Moving on, ASIC’s internal priorities focus on strengthening operational capabilities to improve upon its effectiveness and efficiency. ASIC has identified four key internal priorities that will be actioned, and these are digital technology, data analytics, people and resourcing, and modernising business registers. These priorities will be delivered by enhancing the following capabilities:

  1. Digital technology and data: ASIC will continue to increase use of technology to deliver simple, streamlined interface with those who interact with ASIC, collect and access more data, quickly and accurately identify harms, leverage automation to reduce processing work, share data to enable cross-agency and international collaboration and ensure data is secure and used appropriately.
  2. Regulatory efficiency: The Regulatory Efficiency Unit (‘‘REU’’) will continue to engage with stakeholders and the regulated population to ensure that ASIC meets regulatory goals that are expected to be realised in 2022-23.
  3. People: ASIC aims to invest in its workforce to recruit and retain talent and resources to improve and effect the meeting of internal and external goals.
  4. Modernising business registers: As part of the Modernising Business Registers (‘‘MBR’’) program, ASIC will continue to work closely with the MBR program to facilitate accessible business registers to make it easier to do business.

next steps

ASIC will be reporting progress and performance in the forms of the annual report, periodic ASIC updates and ad hoc reports. Any additional regulations and requirements as a result of the Corporate Plan 2022-26 will continue to be announced via media releases.

For more information, and any guidance or advice on ASIC’s Corporate Plan 2022-26, Cleveland & Co External in-house counsel™, your specialist outsourced legal team, are here to help.

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