ASIC: The new regulatory regime
Keynote address by Jillian Segal, Commissioner, ASIC, to the Australian Association of Permanent Building Societies, 30 April 1999.
The new regulatory regime
As you all know the Financial System Inquiry or Wallis Report recommended wide ranging reforms to the Australian Financial System. These reforms are being implemented in a staged manner.
In July last year the Australian Securities Commission became the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and gained broader and new responsibilities for the conduct and disclosure aspects of insurance, superannuation and banking and for consumer protection. Our co-regulator the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority came into existence.
We are now entering the second stage of the FSI reforms with Building Societies, Credit Unions and Friendly Societies becoming incorporated under the Corporations Law and thereby joining a new regulatory system common to all financial service providers.
The legislation implementing this change, the Financial Sector Reform (Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 1999, is still being considered by Parliament. I understand that it has passed through the House of Representatives and is currently before the Senate Economics Committee for report by 13 May 1999.
I know that this a reform that you largely welcome and have sought for some time.
We also welcome this new role, one financial regulator responsible for registry, corporate governance and consumer protection across the financial sector. However, we are conscious of the challenges such changes mean for all of us - for ASIC as a regulator and for your organisations as they transfer a new regulatory regime.
We are conscious that we must seek to preserve and build on the things within your organisations that are best and that your wish to preserve, but, at the same time, work with you to integrate your institutions into a more complex and challenging environment. I know that you value your core values of saving, self help and cooperation.
We seek to ensure a financial market characterised by integrity, honesty, proper disclosure and fairness where consumers can have confidence in making investments and business can operate efficiently and effectively. We share some common objectives.
Today, I will outline briefly this new regulatory environment and try to describe to you ASIC's approach to the transition and to its regulatory role generally. It is fair to say that my words today are only the beginning of a continuing dialogue as we get to appreciate your industry better and you get to understand our regulatory objectives better.