ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.
We contribute to Australia’s economic reputation and wellbeing by ensuring that Australia’s financial markets are fair and transparent, supported by confident and informed investors and consumers.
We are an independent Commonwealth Government body. We are set up under and administer the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act (ASIC Act), and we carry out most of our work under the Corporations Act.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 requires us to:
maintain, facilitate and improve the performance of the financial system and entities in it
promote confident and informed participation by investors and consumers in the financial system
administer the law effectively and with minimal procedural requirements
enforce and give effect to the law
receive, process and store, efficiently and quickly, information that is given to us
make information about companies and other bodies available to the public as soon as practicable.
ASIC currently comes under the portfolio responsibilities of the Assistant Treasurer, Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO.
We regulate Australian companies, financial markets, financial services organisations and professionals who deal and advise in investments, superannuation, insurance, deposit taking and credit.
As the consumer credit regulator, we license and regulate people and businesses engaging in consumer credit activities (including banks, credit unions, finance companies, and mortgage and finance brokers). We ensure that licensees meet the standards - including their responsibilities to consumers - that are set out in the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.
As the markets regulator, we assess how effectively authorised financial markets are complying with their legal obligations to operate fair, orderly and transparent markets. We also advise the Minister about authorising new markets. On 1 August 2010, we assumed responsibility for the supervision of trading on Australia’s domestic licensed equity, derivatives and futures markets.
As the financial services regulator, we license and monitor financial services businesses to ensure that they operate efficiently, honestly and fairly. These businesses typically deal in superannuation,managed funds, shares and company securities,derivatives, and insurance.
The laws we administer give us the facilitative, regulatory and enforcement powers necessary for us to perform our role. These include the power to:
register companies and managed investment schemes
grant Australian financial services licences and Australian credit licences
register auditors and liquidators
grant relief from various provisions of the legislation which we administer
maintain publicly accessible registers of information about companies, financial services licensees and credit licensees
make rules aimed at ensuring the integrity of financial markets
stop the issue of financial products under defective disclosure documents
investigate suspected breaches of the law and in so doing require people to produce books or answer questions at an examination
issue infringement notices in relation to alleged breaches of some laws
ban people from engaging in credit activities or providing financial services
seek civil penalties from the courts
commence prosecutions - these are generally conducted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, although there are some categories of matters which we prosecute ourselves.
Protecting consumers and investors
We have powers to protect consumers against misleading or deceptive and unconscionable conduct affecting all financial products and services, including credit.