ASIC – The Australia Securities & Investments Commission is Australia’s integrated corporate, markets, financial services and consumer credit regulator. It is an independent Commonwealth body that is administered under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) (ASIC Act).
Australia Securities & Investments Commission has the power, among other things, to:
- Register companies;
- Grant financial services licences;
- Maintain publically accessible registers of information;
- Investigate suspected breaches of the law;
- Issue infringement notices;
- Seek civil penalties from the Courts; and
- Commence prosecutions.
Australia Securities & Investments Commission also has various enforcement powers, whereby the ASIC Act directs Australia Securities & Investments Commission to ‘take whatever action it can take, and is necessary, in order to enforce and give effect to the laws of the Commonwealth that confers functions and powers on it’. These powers are used to deal with unlawful conduct, recover money and deter future unlawful activity. Potential breaches of the law are brought to ASIC’s attention though:
- Reports of misconduct from members of the public;
- Referrals from other regulators
- Statutory reports from auditors, insolvency practitioners and licensees; and
- Through monitoring and surveillance work.