In Short: On 26 August 2021, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) released its Corporate Plan for 2021-25, the first under its new chair and deputy chair. The Corporate Plan outlines ASIC’s regulatory priorities and actions over the next four years and represents a significant change in direction for Australia’s corporate regulator.
The Result: ASIC’s Corporate Plan reflects its new mandate to contribute to the government’s economic goals, including to support Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery. The Corporate Plan sets out initiatives to overhaul ASIC’s internal governance framework as well as ASIC’s new targeted regulatory enforcement strategy, which is focused on poor product design and governance, failure to implement new standards set by law reform initiatives, and failure to adequately manage cyber risks that harm consumers.
Looking Ahead: Whilst ASIC is no longer pursuing a ‘why not litigate?’ strategy, it is clear that ASIC will remain a formidable regulator—and litigant—in the areas of greatest harm to consumers and markets. ASIC will be conducting speedier investigations and using the full suite of its enforcement tools, including enforceable undertakings, product intervention orders, and infringement notices. As a result, all regulated entities, as well as their directors and officers, should continue to be mindful of, and seek advice on, their new and existing obligations.
Overhaul of ASIC’s Internal Governance…