ASIC has today released an update outlining key actions taken during the July to September quarter (REP 753).
Chair Joe Longo said ASIC delivered strong enforcement and regulatory outcomes during the quarter in line with our priorities. ‘ASIC remains committed to using our full regulatory toolkit to address consumer and investor harms and promote trust and confidence in Australia’s financial system.’
‘That commitment is evident across the very broad remit of responsibilities that ASIC oversees. Our enforcement and regulatory action between July and September spanned the insurance, credit, superannuation, financial advice, managed investments, markets and auditing sectors.’
During the quarter, we commenced court proceedings against AMP companies, achieving financial penalties of $14.5 million from their charging consumers fees for no service. The listed wealth management firm Dixon Advisory received a $7.2 million penalty for breaches of their best-interest obligations.
ASIC also issued its first design and distribution obligations (DDO) stop order in July. ‘We have now issued 21 DDO interim stop orders to date, five of which were issued between July and September. And we have just commenced our first civil penalty proceedings for poor target-market practice.’
‘The DDO regime represents a fundamental shift in consumer protection in financial services, giving ASIC the capability to prevent consumer harm and move quickly when firms do not meet their obligations.’
ASIC continued to oversee remediation for consumers subject to harmful sales and retention practices, with over $5.6 billion returned to an estimated seven million Australian consumers in the six years to September 2022. ASIC also assisted industry to better respond to family violence considerations and made product intervention orders prohibiting the issue of short-term credit and continuing credit contracts to retail clients.
Key outcomes from ASIC surveillance programs included calling on superannuation trustees to review their internal dispute resolution arrangements and urging fund managers to ensure investment performance representations in their marketing materials were appropriate.