ASIC welcomes broader competition powers

ASIC welcomes broader competition powers

ASIC has welcomed the Productivity Commission's recommendation that the corporate regulator be granted a "broad, proactive competition mandate".

Appearing before the Productivity Commission (PC) in Melbourne yesterday, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) senior executive leader for strategy Greg Kirk welcomed the commission's draft report, which suggested ASIC become a "champion for competition" in Australian financial services.

The PC draft report advocated a new, broad mandate for ASIC that would see the regulator responsible for competition within financial services.

"We support the Productivity Commission's recognition of the importance of ASIC having a broad, proactive competition mandate to undertake our role effectively," Mr Kirk said.

An "appropriate" mandate would allow ASIC to "factor and appropriately balance competition into our regulatory decision-making, and address market failure as a driver of misconduct or poor consumer outcomes", Mr Kirk said.

"We also support regulators working together to consider competition issues in the financial system, and to learn from each other’s expertise and perspectives, whatever mechanism is ultimately chosen to achieve this," he said.

On the topic of data and transparency, Mr Krik said there is "too little" focus on providing consumers with meaningful information about performance.

"However, we also know that the complexity of financial products and services and consumer decision-making means simply providing more information may not necessarily improve competition and consumer outcomes," he said.

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