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Treasury Laws Amendment (ASIC Governance Bill) 2018


The Treasury Laws Amendment (ASIC Governance Bill) 2018 (the Bill) amends the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act) to give the Governor-General the discretion to appoint a second Deputy Chairperson of ASIC.

Financial regulation in Australia is undertaken by several different authorities:

  • the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is an independent statutory authority which promotes competition and fair trade in markets to benefit consumers, businesses and the community

  • the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) oversees banks, credit unions, building societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, private health insurance, friendly societies and most of the superannuation industry with responsibility for prudential supervision

  • ASIC regulates Australian companies, financial markets, financial services organisations and professionals who deal in and advise on investments, superannuation, insurance, deposit taking and credit, with responsibility for consumer protection and conduct regulation

  • Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) has regulatory responsibility for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing and

  • the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) is responsible for monetary and banking policy, including stability of the financial system.

Regulatory authority current governance structure

 

Governance

Chair

Deputy

Maximum size

Legislation

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

 

NCE*

Required

Full-time

Appointed by GG^

Discretion

Up to 1

Full-time

Appointed by GG^

Between 3 and 8

Appointed by GG^

Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

 

NCE*

Required

Full-time Appointed by GG^

Discretion

Up to 2

Full-time

Appointed by GG^

‘such number of other members as are from time to time appointed in accordance with this Act’ Appointed by GG^

Competition and Consumer Act 2010

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)

 

NCE*

Required

Full-time

Discretion

Up to 1

Full-time

Between 3 and 5

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Act 1998

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC)

 

NCE*

CEO, required

Full-time

Appointed by Minister

n/a

n/a

Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006

Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)

 

CCE**

Chairperson (Governor) Required

Appointed by Treasurer

Deputy Governor

Required

Up to 1

Appointed by Treasurer

Reserve Bank Board: 9; Payments System Board: 3-8

Reserve Bank Act 1959

*Non-corporate Commonwealth entity; **Corporate Commonwealth Entity; ^Governor-General.

Amendments

The Bill amends the ASIC Act to provide the Governor-General with the option to appoint up to two persons as Deputy Chairperson at any one time. Other amendments include provisions for presiding at meetings and the role of Acting Deputy Chairperson. A number of references to ‘the Deputy Chairperson’ are replaced with reference to ‘a Deputy Chairperson’.

Why?

In her second reading speech , Minister O’Dwyer pointed to new powers and responsibilities which have been added to ASIC’s remit as justification for the amendments, arguing that they will ‘assist ASIC in operating as an effective and efficient regulator by improving oversight of ASIC by its leadership. … will also provide greater flexibility for the Commission to determine how it undertakes its functions’ In a media release, Minister O’Dwyer noted that an additional Deputy Chairperson for ASIC would bring it into line with the ACCC and ‘allow ASIC to engage more closely with its stakeholders and assist it to better communicate its role, its priorities and how its resources are allocated’. The Government intends to nominate Mr Daniel Crennan QC for the role.  

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