ASIC has released its Corporate Plan for 2018-19 to 2021-22 and small business continues to be an important stakeholder for ASIC, reflected in the plan’s action items for 2018-19.
ASIC Commissioner John Price said, ‘As Australia’s regulator for companies, financial markets and providers of financial services and consumer credit, ASIC works to help small business succeed as a key driver of the Australian economy. Small businesses employ half of Australia’s workforce and make up one-fifth of Australia’s gross domestic product so it’s vital that ASIC helps create an environment that develops the small business sector.’
In the financial year ahead, ASIC will focus on poor culture and professionalism in financial services and credit, particularly in the provision of consumer credit and financial advice, the fair treatment of small business, and the use of consumer data by firms (including data governance).
ASIC will continue to review lenders’ compliance with small business protections in unfair contract terms legislation and offer broader support to small business by providing information, tools and resources. ASIC’s First Business online modules and app are available to download from the MoneySmart website, and there is also a host of information contained on the small business hub on ASIC’s website.
In addition to ensuring companies comply with their obligations to small business, ASIC will be focussing on compliance by small business, in particular, illegal phoenix behaviour, non-compliance with financial reporting obligations and director misconduct.
ASIC launched its Small Business Strategy 2017-2020 in August last year and today reports on our progress during 2017-18, and our commitment to assisting, engaging and helping to protect small businesses. Key highlights for 2017-18 include:
- More than 366,000 new business names and 244,000 new companies were registered, and over 122 million searches of ASIC’s registers were conducted
- ASIC responded to over 692,000 enquiries through its various communication channels, and the small business hub on ASIC’s website was viewed over 66,000 times
- ASIC successfully prosecuted 382 entities/individuals for 734 offences relating to failure to keep books and records, which is often an indicator of illegal phoenix activity.
For more information on the First Business App, see ‘17-033MR ASIC launches First Business App to help young people starting a small business’.