Protecting the investor: The regulator and audit
An address by ASIC Chairman David Knott to the CPA Congress 2002 Conference, Perth, 15 May 2002.
Financial Services Reform Act (FSRA) Amidst all the other issues confronting us, the working environment at ASIC over the past 16 months has been greatly influenced by development of the FSRA and its introduction in March. It is the largest single logistical exercise that we have been called upon to implement and it will continue to form a substantial part of our regulatory workload for at least the next two years.
I do not intend to dwell too long on this subject because I'm confident that by now most of you are up to speed with the way it will impact your work and the affairs of your clients. So I will keep my comments short.
It is reasonable that each business sector affected by FSRA will be focussed on those particular aspects of the legislation that most directly impact on them. ASIC, on the other hand, must stand back to review the total landscape of the legislation which, in its entirety, may well represent the single most important piece of law reform for the financial services sector over the past 50 years. That may seem like a big statement, but when you consider that the purpose of this reform is to establish a common licensing, conduct and disclosure regime across all providers of financial products - and advisers in relation to those products – it is difficult to think of anything more ambitious having been attempted over that time.
Last night's budget increase for ASIC will be primarily designated to implementation of FSRA and its subsequent administration. It is a significant increase reflecting the dimension of this new law.
While ASIC has sought to influence certain aspects of the new law, and the regulations which are vital to its operation, we accept neither credit nor criticism for its final content. The law as enacted represents Government policy, concluded through the normal political process under the guiding hand of Treasury. In the period since the Government announced its response to the first CLERP 6 consultation paper, our emphasis has been to influence those areas that in our view raised specific implementation or on-going administration issues for ASIC. Our views were not always accepted, but we believe that we are well prepared to give effect to the law in accordance with its terms and intention.