ASIC has issued a media release stating that it will shift its focus on the challenges created by the current pandemic.  ASIC’s renewed approach aims to promote a regulatory environment in which companies are able to focus on their immediate priorities and the needs of their customers during this unprecedented time.

Key takeaways from ASIC’s statement

  • In coordination with the Council of Financial Regulators, ASIC will also prioritise matters where there is the risk of significant consumer harm, serious breaches of the law, risk to market integrity and time critical matters until at least 30 September 2020.
  • ASIC has now suspended a number of non-time critical matters such as consultation, regulatory reports and reviews (e.g. the ASIC report on executive remuneration), updates, internal dispute resolution guidance, a consultation paper on managed discretionary accounts and its on-site supervisory work such as the Close and Continuous Monitoring Program.
  • The regulator has advised that it will provide relief or waivers from regulatory requirements where warranted, including requirements on listed companies associated with secondary capital raisings and audits. This follows ASIC’s recent ‘take no action’ stance with respect to the timing of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) until 31 July 2020 and the conduct of AGMs by electronic means.
  • ASIC will work alongside financial institutions to speed up the payment of outstanding remediation to customers. ASIC will also take into account the current circumstances lenders are operating in when administering the law.
  • ASIC will maintain its enforcement activities and investigations and continue to take action against any person or entity that breaks the law, with a particular focus on action that is necessary to prevent immediate consumer harm, egregious illegal conduct and other time critical matters.
  • ASIC’s key business as usual functions will remain in place including registry operations and services, receipt of whistle-blower, breach and misconduct reports and general contact points for industry.