ASIC Summer School 2011 opening address: ASIC's 20th anniversary
Opening and welcome address, to Summer School 2011, ‘The New Regulatory Landscape’ , by ASIC Chairman, Tony D’Aloisio, 21 February 2011
I hope you will have also noticed that ASIC turns 20 this year. This is an important milestone for us as a regulator and for Australia as a whole. It is particularly important to ASIC staff—men and women who have devoted their energies to making a difference in public service. Today we have some 233 of our staff (around 10%) who have been with ASIC over that 20 year period.
ASIC commenced its regulatory role as the ASC (Australian Securities Commission) on 1 January 1991. Its formation followed a particularly tumultuous period in Australian business that saw the rise and fall of numerous high-profile entrepreneurs, companies and investment schemes in the late 1980s.
When the Corporations Legislation Amendment Bill (which embodied the new national scheme for corporate regulation and saw the formation of the ASC) was introduced into Parliament in 1990, the then Attorney General Michael Duffy said:
"There is, I think, no doubt that the closing years of this decade will be remembered as one of the bleakest chapters in Australian corporate history ... Tragically, these collapses have brought with them some appalling losses of shareholders’ and investors’ funds. They have also brought to light evidence of outrageous irresponsibility and excesses on the part of the directors and management of some major corporations ..."
Fast forward 20 years and I think we can be struck by a sharp contrast.