Chair Joe Longo outlines agenda
On 29 July 2021, Joe Longo gave his first media interview as ASIC Chair to ABC Radio National Breakfast with Fran Kelly.
Speaking to ABC reporter Peter Ryan, Mr Longo covered a range of topics including ASIC’s focus on supporting business and consumers during COVID-19.
‘A big external priority for us is doing what we can to support Australian business and Australian consumers in the middle of this pandemic,’ Mr Longo explained. ‘But that doesn’t mean we’ve taken our eye off the ball with corporate crime. We are particularly focused on scams for example – vulnerable consumers in particular are at risk.’
Mr Longo outlined his take on business insolvencies, particularly due to recent lockdowns.
‘As things stand, we’re now 18 months into this pandemic and we have not seen a material uptick in insolvencies even now – they’re at historic lows,’ said Joe. ‘The Australian economy has been remarkably resilient. Whether that will continue in the coming months, obviously lockdown in NSW is of great concern to everyone, but as things stand, we’re not seeing a dramatic increase in insolvencies; we’ll have to see whether that continues.’
Mr Longo was asked about ASIC’s enforcement stance and whether there was ‘pressure to be more business friendly’.
‘Absolutely not,’ said Mr Longo, reiterating that nothing would change under his watch. ‘I was head of enforcement at ASIC in the nineties and I’m absolutely committed to ASIC remaining an active, credible law enforcement agency.’
When asked about the rise of cryptocurrencies and companies that have cryptocurrency exchanges, Mr Longo stated that Australians should be cautious and understand the risks involved.
‘We will take action where we can,’ Mr Longo said. ‘However, consumers need to be very careful when dealing with crypto. They really shouldn’t be dealing in those assets unless they have a good understanding of the risks.’
Listen to the interview
Listen to ASIC Chair Joe Longo’s interview with Peter Ryan on ABC Radio National.