ASIC chairman James Shipton, who took over from acting chair Peter Kell on 1 February, appeared before the parliamentary joint committee (PJC) on Friday.
In his opening address, Mr Shipton noted the duty ASIC has to the public, given that the financial services industry manages, as he put it, "other people's money".
"Because we are dealing with other people’s money, we must never forget that financial risks can, and often are, catastrophic to real people and can, at an extreme, cause human suffering. After all, it is real money to real people," Mr Shipton said.
Asked about his predecessor Greg Medcraft, Mr Shipton said he planned to continue Mr Medcraft's focus on improving corporate culture.
"One point that Mr Medcraft provided not just domestic but global leadership on was highlighting the importance of culture inside financial institutions," Mr Shipton said.
"At the same time, when I was a regulator in Asia I was saying similar things – so there is an alignment of thinking in that regard."
Mr Shipton also highlighted the importance of professionalism – particularly in light of current efforts to lift education standards among financial advisers.
He also emphasised the review of ASIC's enforcement activities as priority, along with the PJC's inquiry into life insurance.
"I know ASIC has been involved in the [life insurance inquiry] process, and we welcome the upcoming release of the final report," Mr Shipton said.
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