What Is the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)?

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the regulator of Australia's markets and financial services. The ASIC ensures that Australia's financial markets are fair and transparent. The ASIC is an independent Commonwealth Government body established by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act of 2001 (ASIC Act).

Key Takeaways

  • The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is an independent government body tasked with regulating Australia's financial markets and financial services industry.
  • The Commission consists of a chairperson and members tasked with determining priorities in regulating Australian companies, financial markets and services organizations, and the professionals who work in financial services.
  • The ASIC is tasked with promoting investor confidence through regulating and improving the financial system's performance, enforcing the law, storing financial information efficiently, and making it available to the public.

Understanding the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

The ASIC regulates Australian companies, financial markets, financial services organizations, and professionals who deal and/or advise on insurance, superannuation, investments, deposit-taking, and credit. ASIC service centers are located in all of Australia's capital cities.

ASIC's Structure

The organization is headed by a Commission that is responsible for the ASIC's activities. The Commission is composed of a Chairperson and members. The Commission decides the ASIC's strategic direction and its priorities.

ASIC's Role

Under the ASIC Act, the ASIC is expected to:

  1. Maintain, facilitate, and improve the financial system's performance
  2. Promote confident and informed investor and consumer participation
  3. Administer and enforce the law effectively and efficiently
  4. Process and store information efficiently and quickly
  5. Make information regarding companies and other bodies public in a timely manner

The ASIC promotes investor and financial consumer trust and confidence by educating investors and the public on investor responsibility. The ASIC holds gatekeepers to account, and it studies consumer behavior and how investors and consumers make decisions. The ASIC also ensures fair and transparent markets by playing a role in market supervision and corporate governance.

Who Does the ASIC Regulate?

The ASIC regulates Australian companies, financial markets, financial service organizations, and financial professionals. It also acts as the consumer credit regulator and licenses and regulates organizations such as banks, credit unions, finance companies, and mortgage brokers according to the National Consumer Credit Protection Act of 2009.

The ASIC is also the markets regulator and ensures that financial markets are fair, transparent markets and advises the Minister when new markets are being considered for authorization. As the financial services regulator, the ASIC licenses and monitors financial service individuals.

The ASIC lists the following as powers that fall within its mandate:

  • Register financial services providers
  • Maintain publicly accessible registers
  • Grant Australian financial services and credit licenses
  • Intervene to grant defective products
  • Make legislative rules to ensure financial market integrity
  • Grant relief from legislation
  • Investigate suspected breaches
  • Issue infringement notices
  • Seek civil penalties
  • Ban individual activity
  • Prosecute offenders