How ASIC deals with reports of misconduct
ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. We contribute to Australia’s economic reputation and wellbeing by ensuring that Australia’s financial markets are fair and transparent, supported by confident and informed investors and consumers.
We welcome reports from members of the public who believe that a company or individual has not complied with the laws we administer.
This information sheet (INFO 153) sets out:
- how we assess reports of misconduct
- what we do with reports of misconduct
- how we will communicate with you
- review of ASIC’s handling of reports
- information about confidentiality and whistleblowers
- other ways we may be able to help you.
We record every report of misconduct that we receive. We make preliminary inquiries and conduct an initial assessment of your report to see whether we should escalate the report to a specialist team. Our goal is to finalise our initial assessment within 28 days.
We can only take action if the matter is within one of our areas of responsibility. We are more likely to take action when it will be in the wider public interest and in line with ASIC’s objectives of fair and transparent markets and confident and informed investors and consumers.
However, we don’t provide legal advice and we do not act for individuals.
All reports of misconduct that we receive give us valuable information, but not every matter brought to our attention requires us to take action. Under the laws we administer, we have the discretion to decide whether to take further action on reports of misconduct that we receive.
We record the data from your report in our confidential databases to:
- help us identify which people and what problems are troubling consumers, investors and creditors
- suggest potential future targets for surveillance and inspections
- help us select cases for possible criminal or civil action
- guide us on the warnings and guidance we give.
For many reports of misconduct, we determine that there is no further action that ASIC can take. In a limited number of cases we may refer your report to a specialist investigation or surveillance team within ASIC to seek compliance with the laws we administer. We may also take administrative, licensing, criminal or civil action to remedy any breach of the laws we administer.
For more information, read our Information Sheet 151 ASIC’s approach to enforcement (INFO 151).
We will let you know that we have received your report of misconduct, usually by email. If we can, we will try to help you by suggesting ways of dealing with the matters you tell us about. If another organisation can help, we will tell you which one.
Reporting misconduct to ASIC does not affect your right to take your own legal action to try to resolve the matter. You may wish to talk to a legal adviser about whether or not to take your own legal action.
We will only contact you again if we need more information or if we decide to take further action, unless contacting you could prejudice our investigation or affect the market.
For more information, read our Information Sheet 152 Public comment on ASIC’s regulatory activities (INFO 152).
Can we recover your money?
We often receive complaints from consumers who want help getting their money back. Even if we believe a company or person has breached a law that we administer, we generally will not be able to recover money for you.
If you are dissatisfied with ASIC’s handling of your report of misconduct, you may request an internal review.
An ASIC officer who was not involved in the original case will conduct the review, and they will consider any further information you may wish to provide.
If, after this review, you remain unhappy with ASIC’s handling of your report, you may make a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
We encourage you to seek your own independent legal advice about any other rights or remedies that may be available to you if you are dissatisfied with our handling of your report of misconduct. You can also make a complaint about ASIC using the form on our website.
We will consider any report of misconduct to have been given to us in confidence. We will not reveal the contents of your report unless we are required or authorised to do so under law.
The Corporations Act 2001 contains protections for certain people as whistleblowers, including making it unlawful to cause or threaten them with detriment for reporting misconduct or breach their confidentiality.
For information about who can access the whistleblower protections and how ASIC handles reports from whistleblowers, read our Information Sheet 238 Whistleblower rights and protections (INFO 238) and Information Sheet 239 How ASIC handles whistleblower reports (INFO 239).
We also strongly recommend that you consider getting legal advice.
For information about how to report misconduct, see Report misconduct to ASIC.
Our consumer and investor website Moneysmart offers up-to-date financial tips and safety checks on:
- scams and swindlers
- shares, managed investments, superannuation, insurance and deposits.
You can follow, watch and listen to us on social media.
You can also call ASIC on 1300 300 630 or ask a question online.
Please note that this information sheet is a summary giving you basic information about a particular topic. It does not cover the whole of the relevant law regarding that topic, and it is not a substitute for professional advice. Omission of any matter on this information sheet will not relieve a company or its officers from any penalty incurred by failing to comply with the statutory obligations of the Act.
You should also note that because this information sheet avoids legal language wherever possible, it might include some generalisations about the application of the law. Some provisions of the law referred to have exceptions or important qualifications. In most cases your particular circumstances must be taken into account when determining how the law applies to you.
This is Information Sheet 153 (INFO 153), reissued in July 2021.