UNSW experts part of taskforce assessing ASIC’s powers | Law

UNSW experts part of taskforce assessing ASIC’s powers

Two UNSW academics have been named as members of a new government taskforce reviewing the enforcement powers of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Professor Pamela Hanrahan, from UNSW Business, and Professor Dimity Kingsford Smith, from UNSW Law, are members of the Expert Group that will advise the core panel of representatives from government agencies.

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O'Dwyer, released the terms of reference for the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce and the names of taskforce members on Wednesday.

“The taskforce will assess the suitability of the existing regulatory tools available to ASIC to perform its functions adequately, whether there is a need to strengthen ASIC’s enforcement toolkit and if so, what that might look like,” O’Dwyer said.

The taskforce will be led by a core panel chaired by Treasury and including senior representatives from ASIC, the Attorney-General’s Department and the office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. This panel will receive ongoing advice and feedback from the Expert Group.

The six members of the Expert Group are drawn from peak industry bodies, consumer groups and academia recognised for their expertise in corporations, consumer, financial and credit law. The other members of this group are Consumer Action Law Centre CEO Gerard Brody, Law Council of Australia president Stuart Clark, Minter Ellison partner Ross Freeman and Professor Ian Ramsay from the University of Melbourne.

UNSW's Professor Hanrahan said: “The Expert Group will assist the Government in reviewing the current enforcement regime for corporations and financial services to make sure that the tools that ASIC has available to it (as a regulator) are fit for purpose and driving the right behaviours in those sectors.”

Professor Kingsford Smith said: ‘It is sometimes said that there is an ‘expectation gap’ between what ASIC does, and what the Australian public expects. An important part of this gap can be filled by up-dating and reconsidering ASIC’s enforcement powers. It is very encouraging that the Government has created the Expert Group to do this work."  

O’Dwyer said there would also be a Reference Group consisting of a range of stakeholders including other domestic and international regulators, from which the Panel may seek input.

“The taskforce will report to the Government in 2017 with specific recommendations on whether and what reforms should be progressed to best enhance ASIC’s enforcement regime,” the Minister said.

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