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Wednesday 17 November 2004

04-374 Building confidence in financial markets: ASIC annual report 2003-04

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Annual Report for 2003-04 was tabled in Federal Parliament today.

In his first annual report, ASIC Chairman Jeffrey Lucy AM highlighted ASIC's role in building confidence in financial markets.

'Confidence has allowed our companies to raise capital competitively, and allowed investors and consumers to buy financial products and services at a cost and quality that compares strongly with major overseas markets', Mr Lucy said.

Highlights of ASIC's report include:

  • A record $4.1 billion in capital raisings required additional disclosure, court orders or enforceable undertakings were obtained for recoveries, compensation and fines of $101 million, and assets worth $11 million were frozen for investors and creditors.
  • Financial and corporate laws were kept credible and respected. This saw 28 criminals jailed, 60 illegal schemes shut down and insolvent trading deterred.
  • Higher and more consistent standards were promoted in the financial services industry under 3,853 new Australian financial services licences.
  • Business costs were reduced and innovative products assisted through 2,007 ASIC approvals.
  • Public use of ASIC's services increased with consumer website visits up 37 per cent, database searches up 23 per cent and reports of misconduct up 7 per cent.

Enforcement: 'We continued the high levels of activity and success of previous years. We had 67 criminals successfully prosecuted, obtained civil orders against 118 companies or people to raise standards in corporations and financial services, and deterred insolvent trading', Mr Lucy said in the report.

Improving the financial system: 'We approved more than 2,007 applications for waivers of or modifications to the law that reduced business costs. As a result of ASIC approvals, more than $45 billion in major corporate restructures and initial public offerings could proceed without additional cost', he said.

Consumer protection and financial literacy: 'ASIC undertook projects to encourage higher standards in financial planning and reduce misleading and deceptive conduct affecting consumers. We significantly increased the reach of our consumer education and consumer protection work', Mr Lucy said.

One of these projects included ASIC's poster competition for Northern Territory students about how to use money wisely. The poster of the competition winner, Carolina Barua, is represented on the back cover of ASIC's annual report', Mr Lucy said.

Copies of the report may be downloaded from ASIC's website at www.asic.gov.au

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Last updated: 23/03/2016 03:12