What is the Australian Securities And Investments Commission?

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

Understanding the Australian Securities And Investments Commission

ASIC falls under the auspices of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer. 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 ASIC's strategic direction and its priorities.

ASIC's Role

Under the ASIC Act, ASIC is expected to:

  1. Maintain, facilitate and improve the financial system's performance
  2. Promote confident and informed investor 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

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

Who Does ASIC Regulate

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 2009.

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, ASICS licenses and monitors financial service individuals. 

ASICS lists the following as powers that fall within its mandate: 

  • register companies and managed investment schemes
  • grant Australian financial services licenses and Australian credit licenses
  • register auditors and liquidators
  • grant relief from various provisions of the legislation which it administers
  • maintain publicly accessible registers of information about companies, financial services licensees, and credit licensees
  • make rules aimed at ensuring the integrity of financial markets
  • stop the issue of financial products under defective disclosure documents
  • investigate suspected breaches of the law and in so doing require people to produce books or answer questions at an examination
  • issue infringement notices in relation to alleged breaches of some laws
  • ban people from engaging in credit activities or providing financial services
  • seek civil penalties from the courts
  • commence prosecutions that are conducted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions