ASIC prepares for new entrants

The prospect of non-traditional players such as Google entering financial services has prompted ASIC to reassess its regulatory toolkit.

 Appearing before a Parliamentary Joint Committee public hearing in Canberra on Friday, ASIC deputy chairman Peter Kell was asked about his recent comments on retailers getting into the financial services space.

Liberal MP David Coleman asked Mr Kell why ASIC would need different regulatory tools to cover retailers.

“I think those comments were in the context of what some of the bigger picture structural changes are,” Mr Kell said.

Changes to the shape of the industry will be explored further by the Financial System Inquiry (FSI), he added.

“I was not suggesting that ASIC was pushing for some change to the laws as they might relate to the provision of insurance by a Coles or a Woolworths right at this point in time,” Mr Kell said.

Instead, he pointed to “some of the changes that are potentially coming down the track” might involve “significant new entrants that are non-traditional financial players coming into the market – whether it is a Coles or a Woolworths or a Google or whatever”.

“In the context of considering the longer term of our financial regulation, it is a matter of whether that should require any modification to the current set-up,” he said.

It is also important to consider whether ASIC has the “right sort of settings in place and whether we have the flexibility in our toolkit to deal with that”, Mr Kell said.

“The members of [the FSI] have publicly flagged that changes in technology and new entrants are going to be part of the set of issues they will look at.”

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