23 October 2017

ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce consults on strengthening penalties

The Turnbull Government welcomes today's release by the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce of the positions paper 'Strengthening Penalties for Corporate and Financial Sector Misconduct'.

In its final report, the Financial System (Murray) Inquiry concluded that the maximum civil and criminal penalties for corporate and financial sector misconduct should be substantially increased. In response to the Murray Inquiry, the Taskforce was established by the Turnbull Government to review ASIC's enforcement powers, including the penalties regime.

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, the Hon Kelly O'Dwyer MP, said the Government is committed to improving outcomes for consumers and investors and a strong penalty framework plays a crucial part.

"The Taskforce process will help to ensure that ASIC has the right tools to combat corporate and financial sector misconduct and to protect consumers," Minister O'Dwyer said.

In reviewing the current penalties regime, the Taskforce focussed on proposals that would enhance ASIC's enforcement toolkit, set penalties at an appropriate level for deterrence, and establish a consistent and robust regulatory regime. Together the proposals seek to foster greater industry compliance and improve public confidence in the financial system.

The Taskforce was established in October 2016 with terms of reference that allow for a thorough examination of the adequacy of ASIC's enforcement regime, to deter misconduct and foster consumer confidence in the financial system.

Membership of the Taskforce includes senior members of the Treasury, ASIC, the Attorney-General's Department and the office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, as well as representatives from industry bodies, consumer groups and academia.

The Taskforce will provide its recommendations to Government by the end of November 2017.

The position paper is available on the Treasury website. Interested stakeholders are invited to comment on the positions put forward by the Taskforce. Submissions for the consultations close on 17 November 2017.