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ASIC's new boss cracks down

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By Madeleine Collins
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2 minute read

ASIC set to see big changes under its new boss.

ASIC's new chairman Tony D'Aloisio will bring in external experts and appoint specialist teams to improve the regulator's watch over the investment market.

Addressing the Senate yesterday, D'Aloisio admitted the regulator needed to get better at doing its job and a wide-ranging review would take place over the next 12 months.

"With a new chairman, a fresh set of eyes can look at the organisation," he said.

D'Aloisio, the former chief executive of the Australian Securities Exchange, said there will be more education on debt securities, efforts to improve disclosure, blitzes on advertising campaigns of complex products aimed at retail investors and early detection and elimination of illegal operators.

"We expect that initiatives such as this will over time translate into a more investment-wise retail sector, with better access to quality advice," he said.

Three specialist teams will be set up to examine the risks for the retail investors, determine what additional action ASIC can take to crack down on market manipulation and insider trading and cut down on red tape within the regulator.

ASIC's former chairman Jeffrey Lucy, whose tenure expired in April, came under fire for failing to protect retail investors who lost millions in corporate collapses such as Westpoint and Fincorp.

Yesterday another property financier Australian Capital Reserve went into administration owing around 7000 investors $330 million in unsecured loans.

D'Aloisio said ASIC is trying to get the monetary threshold limit of $50,000 for promissory notes raised and is bringing in an external property and development expert and valuer to give advice on how ASIC can the way it reviews prospectuses for Fincorp-style companies.

"We are freshly assessing what else we could have done. [however] corporate failure, in our system, cannot be eliminated," he said.