Legal issues and the Attorney-General's portfolio - Australian Securities and Investments Commission and Financial Regulation


Budget Review 2009-10 Index

Budget 2009 10: Legal issues and the Attorney-General's portfolio

Australian Securities and Investments Commission and financial regulation

PaoYi Tan
Kali Sanyal


The 2009–10 Budget allocates $63.2 million over four years to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to meet the costs of additional specialists and staff, legal and forensic resources, and support for three new Commissioners recently appointed to ASIC.[1]

ASIC staff numbers are set to grow by 174 in the 2009–10 financial year, bringing staff numbers from 1806 to 1980.[2] This signifies the largest staff increase of any organisation or body under the Treasury portfolio for 2009–10.

The increase in staff numbers (and increased monitoring and enforcement activities) can be largely attributed to a recent structural makeover of the organisation, the result of a strategic review of ASIC undertaken in 2008. ASIC’s new structure became operational on 1 September 2008. The Chairman of ASIC, Mr Tony D’Aloisio, described the key differences that the restructure aimed to achieve:

  • Clearer vision against which ASIC tests and explains its’ intervention or commencement of proceedings
  • Clearer priorities which are framed more narrowly around issues of importance (for instance, capital markets and market integrity, retail investors, financial consumers and global capital flows), and
  • Greater investment in the development of staff, and an increased number of leaders to take on responsibilities. [3]

Staffing increases are attributable to a several notable changes, such as:

  • Support staff required for the new Commissioners which were appointed to ASIC in December 2008, bringing the number of Commissioners to six. The increase in the size of the Commission was designed to ensure ASIC remains best placed to deal with the fallout from the global financial crisis and its new role as the national consumer credit regulator.[4]
  • Increased resources towards regulation of exchange-traded products and markets.[5]
  • The creation of a new structure that is outwardly market focused—12 stakeholder teams (industry based) and eight deterrence (enforcement) teams.[6]

Additionally, ASIC will require resources and staffing for the anticipated Commonwealth takeover of the national consumer credit regulatory regime. The transfer of consumer credit responsibilities from the States to the Commonwealth arose from an agreement of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).[7] The legislation enabling this, the National Consumer Credit Protection Bill 2009, is due for introduction into Parliament in the 2009 winter sitting period. Under the proposed new consumer credit regime, ASIC will be responsible for licensing and supervision of the consumer credit industry.[8]



[1].    Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2009-10, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2009, p. 379, viewed 18 May 2009, http://www.budget.gov.au/2009-10/content/bp2/html/index.htm

[2].    Australian Government, Budget strategy and outlook: budget paper: no. 1: 2009–10, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2009, p. 6–70, viewed 18 May 2009,
http://www.budget.gov.au/2009-10/content/bp1/html/index.htm

[3].    T D’Aloisio (Chairman, Australian Securities and Investments Commission), The new ASIC: addressing today’s challenges and building for the longer term, Speech, 7 November 2008, p. 6, viewed 15 May 2009,  http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/pdflib.nsf/LookupByFileName/
new-asic-7-11-2008-ACLA.pdf/$file/new-asic-7-11-2008-ACLA.pdf

[4].    N Sherry (Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law), New commissioners appointed to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, media release, 15 December 2008, viewed 15 May 2009 http://www.treasurer.gov.au/DisplayDocs.aspx?
doc=pressreleases/2008/094.htm&pageID=003&min=njs&Year=&DocType

[5].    Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2009–10: budget related paper no. 1.17: Treasury Portfolio, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2009, p. 162, viewed 18 May 2009, http://www.treasury.gov.au/documents/1539/PDF/
Treasury_portfolio_budget_statements_2009_10.pdf

[6].    T D’Aloisio,  The new ASIC, p. 6.

[7].    Council of Australian Governments, Meeting, 2 October 2008, Communiqué, viewed 18 May 2009, http://www.coag.gov.au/coag_meeting_outcomes/2008-10-02/index.cfm

[8].    N Sherry (Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law), Australia to get world-leading credit licensing regime, media release, 27 April 2009, viewed 15 May 2009
http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/
display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22media%2Fpressrel%2F7GGT6%22
 

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