Chair Joe Longo opens ASIC Annual Forum 2022


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Published
Nov 3rd '22
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This article summarises Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) Chair Joe Longo’s keynote address at the ASIC Annual Forum (AAF), 3–4 November 2022.

 

Key points:

 

  • Chair Joe Longo spoke about the impacts of complexity and volatility, key issues globally that are challenging businesses and regulators – with a focus on climate change and digitisation, and consumer protection in volatile times
  • Mr Longo said ASIC cannot address these challenges alone, and all of us must confront these threats together.
  • Mr Longo also made clear ASIC’s Enforcement Priorities now and through 2023.

 

Enforcement

In the last financial year alone, ASIC completed more than 1,000 surveillances and commenced more than 100 investigations. They completed 61 civil litigation matters and secured over $229 million in civil penalties and commenced another 75 actions. ASIC also secured criminal convictions against 33 individuals and commenced another 50 criminal actions.

 

ASIC also takes protective action, including disqualifying and banning people from directing companies and helping to protect small businesses. They took corrective action and addressed more than 60 instances of potentially misleading or deceptive conduct.

 

ASIC continue to actively target cases of high deterrent value and those involving egregious harm or misconduct.

 

Climate and sustainability

‘Investment in this sector can only be supported where there is confidence an offering is “true to label”, and corporates have a reasonable basis for making public statements on this topic,’ said Mr Longo.

 

ASIC’s task is to ensure there is integrity, trust and confidence in sustainable finance-related products, services and disclosure practices.

 

There are three key features of ASIC’s strategy in this space: enforcing existing laws, contributing to proposed domestic law reform and guidance (informed by our engagement with international and domestic stakeholders), and planning for the future to ensure the ASIC remain ready to respond and adapt as climate and sustainability-related finance continue to rapidly evolve.

 

Digitisation and innovation

Developments with new technologies and access to vast – and growing – amounts of data, are rapidly shifting investment products and markets.

 

Mr Longo spoke to three key issues: crypto, blockchain technologies and the tokenisation of assets, and broader cyber resilience risks.

 

On cryptocurrencies, Mr Longo said they are ‘highly volatile, inherently risky and complex’, and that ASIC continues to use current laws and its expanded toolkit to protect investors from harms arising in this space.

 

‘While encouraging digital innovation, ASIC will act to disrupt and deter conduct that harms people,’ Mr Longo said. ‘Harmful conduct that falls within our jurisdiction, including unlicensed conduct and misleading promotion of crypto-asset financial products, is within our sights.’

 

Read the full speech

Read the full speech: keynote address by ASIC Chair Joe Longo.

 

ASIC is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator.

 

Source: © Australian Securities & Investments Commission. Reproduced with permission.

 

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