The government has released its draft legislation for ASIC enforcement which could allow the regulator access to intercepted telecommunications, as well as enhanced powers across its search warrants, licensing and banning orders.
The law has been based on a number of recommendations by the ASIC Enforcement Review Taskforce report. The government agreed to implement all of the suggestions in April.
The bill proposed will allow interception agencies to provide lawfully captured information to ASIC for serious offences that the regulator can investigate or prosecute.
Currently, ASIC does not have the power to apply for warrants to intercept telecommunications, but it may collaborate with the AFP which is able to seek warrant to tap phones for investigating suspected insider trading and market manipulation offences.
The corporate regulator can seek the issue of warrants to obtain “stored” telecommunications data, such as emails or SMS messages.
Treasury has also aimed to harmonise ASIC’s search warrant powers across different acts and bring them in line with the search warrant powers in the Crimes Act.
The government also wants to extend ASIC’s powers to allow it to ban a person from performing functions in a financial services or credit business, as well as expanding the grounds on which ASIC can issue banning orders.
Treasury noted the proposed bill will strengthen the body’s licensing powers by replacing the Australian Financial Services License requirement that a person be of “good fame and character” with an ongoing requirement that they be a “fit and proper person.”
The legislation aligns the penalties for false and misleading statements in AFS and Australian credit license expectations.
The public consultation is open until 9 October.
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].
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