The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is the government body responsible for corporate regulation and the oversight of financial service products, whilst playing a key role ensuring consumer protection in the Australian financial system. They administer and enforce a range of legislative provisions relating to financial markets to ensure the integrity of the financial system. As a result of this responsibility, ASIC seeks to promote honesty and fairness in company affairs and security markets, such as the Australian Share market.
ASIC also implements the provisions of the Financial Services Reform Act 2001, which came into effect on the 11th of March 2002. This Act introduces a streamlined regulatory regime for market integrity and consumer protection across the financial services industry. The Act provides for a harmonised licensing, disclosure and conduct framework for financial service providers, and a single statutory regime for financial product disclosure. At the same time, the framework allows for flexible treatment of different financial products where appropriate (e.g.
basic deposit products are subject to less intensive regulation than more complex investment products).
Over the recent few years, ASIC has not effectively managed its role as a corporate regulator, failing to protect consumers. One example of this is the collapse of Fincorp, a property investment group, in March 2007. The troubles around the Fincorp fiasco raised questions about the role of ASIC itself and their ability to carry out their given responsibilities. Investors of the time argue that "insufficient efforts were made to inform them about a New South Wales court ruling ordering Fincorp to offer people a refund who'd invested in the company at a time when the promotional material was judged inadequate". Furthermore, Graham Macauley, the President of the Westpoint Investors Group, another corporate that collapsed due to inadequate intervening by ASIC, criticised ASIC, "Fincorp...