How ASIC deals with reports of misconduct
This is Information Sheet 153 (INFO 153).
ASIC welcomes reports or tip-offs about misconduct under the laws we administer. By reporting misconduct to ASIC, you are helping us regulate the Australian financial system and to act against misconduct by the entities within it.
This information sheet sets out:
- what we do with reports of misconduct
- when we will communicate with you
- information about confidentiality and whistleblowers
- other resources.
Reports of misconduct are an important source of intelligence for ASIC. We use reports of misconduct, together with all the intelligence we collect, to detect misconduct, identify patterns, trends, and broader systemic problems that may require our intervention. 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.
ASIC does not resolve complaints, intervene in disputes, give legal advice or act to get your money back.
ASIC receives thousands of reports of misconduct every year. In a limited number of cases, we may formally investigate a report or tip-off if it meets our current priorities and enforcement criteria. We publish our Enforcement Priorities on our website.
All reports of misconduct give us valuable information. They are recorded on our confidential internal database, but we cannot investigate every matter that is brought to our attention.
It’s important to note that when we receive reports from the public about concerning conduct, we may not always be able to pursue regulatory action at that first or initial stage. However, we continue to monitor reports, and this helps us identify patterns of conduct.
For more information, read our Information Sheet 151 ASIC’s approach to enforcement (INFO 151).
We will only contact you about your report of misconduct if we need more information.
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.
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 reports from consumers who want help getting their money back. ASIC does not intervene or act in individual matters. Even when we take enforcement action, we will not generally be able to get your money back.
If you are a consumer or small business and you have a complaint about a financial firm, like a bank, insurance company, superannuation fund or financial adviser, you should contact the firm’s internal dispute resolution area. If you are not happy with their response, you can complain to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). AFCA’s service is free.
For more information, read our Information Sheet 174 Disputes with financial firms (INFO 174).
ASIC’s Moneysmart website has information on free legal advice services available in Australia.
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. We strongly recommend that whistleblowers get independent legal advice before and after blowing the whistle. ASIC cannot give legal advice.
For information on common issues reported to us, please see Reporting misconduct to ASIC. You can lodge a report with ASIC through our online misconduct reporting form.
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.
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 laws we administer.
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.
Information sheets provide concise guidance on a specific process or compliance issue or an overview of detailed guidance.
This information sheet was reissued in June 2023.