Everything the company director must know about corporate financial disclosure and continuous disclosure
An address by Jillian Segal, Deputy Chair, ASIC, to the Australian Institute of Company Directors conference, 'Governance & Disclosure - A Forum for Company Directors', Sydney, 31 October 2001.
Thank you for inviting me to join you today. A conference on 'Governance & Disclosure' is of course most timely as we begin to experience what appears to be the downside of the economic cycle. A number of high profile collapses such as HIH, One.Tel, Harris Scarfe, and more recently Ansett, of course, also focuses ones attention on governance issues.
Today, I would like to talk a little bit about ASIC's thinking on some of the key issues that are currently on its agenda, as well as issues that are hopefully of interest to you. As you would expect, ASIC's agenda is both full and diverse. As well as some high profile investigations, we have also been very focussed on FSR policy formulation and licensing implementation issues prior to FSR's planned start on 11 March 2002.
Before I delve into some other issues that I would like to talk to you about today, I would like to acknowledge the importance which ASIC places on its relationship with the AICD and its members. This importance is reflected in our involvement throughout the year in similar AICD functions across Australia, and in the AICD's involvement in groups chaired by ASIC. For example, the AICD is represented on our Corporate Governance Roundtable Group, which has been focussing recently, at the request of the Minister for Financial Services and Regulation, on identifying ways of promoting better corporate governance, and particularly in increasing the level of retail participation in corporate governance activities. We are considering issues such as electronic voting processes and simplifying notices of meetings to make them more investor friendly.
I am sure you will all agree that there are a whole host of issues that fall within the umbrella of 'corporate governance', and disclosure is certainly one of them. You would have noticed the title of this speech in your Conference programs – 'Everything the Company Director must know about Corporate Financial Disclosure & Continuous Disclosure'. Whilst I cannot hope to cover all of the issues pertaining to corporate disclosure within the limited time available to me today, I will certainly try to highlight some key issues from ASIC's perspective. I will also comment on corporate governance more generally, the role of auditors and audit independence, and some of the current regulatory challenges of globalisation.