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Government welcomes ASIC red tape reduction mandate

The government has applauded ASIC’s plans to form a new unit focussed on cutting regulatory costs for businesses, as it has slashed levies for financial advisers.

The new unit, indicated in ASIC’s 2021-15 Corporate Plan, will be tasked with identifying and implementing changes to how ASIC administers the law.

The watchdog has also committed to streamlining stakeholder interaction and supporting a more efficient delivery of its regulation.

ASIC has laid out measures to ease its regulation, including providing clear communication on how it will exercise its powers, actively engaging with stakeholders and enhancing cooperation with other regulators, improving its IT and data-sharing capability.

It also has said it will promote regulatory technology (regtech) to drive better compliance and consumer outcomes, as well as fintech; and it is planning to administer a regulatory sandbox to allow testing of business models without having to first obtain a financial services or credit licence.

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The new approach has been set amid an internal overhaul for ASIC, after the exits of former chair James Shipton and his deputy Daniel Crennan following an expenses scandal.

Meanwhile, the government also declared that it would restore the industry levy for financial advisers to 2018-19 levels, slashing ASIC’s estimated levy by more than half to $1,142 per adviser, in addition to the flat fee per licensee charge of $1,500.

ASIC had previously indicated a levy of $3,138 per adviser in 2020-21.

The advice sector will now need to pay an estimated $46 million less in levies.

Minister for financial services Jane Hume commented the new ASIC unit will be a step forward to improve regulatory alignment and cut red tape.

“I want all Australian households to have access to affordable, high quality financial services and advice. The creation of this unit, alongside the $46 million of relief the government announced this morning for financial advice are important steps forward for Australian businesses,” Ms Hume said.

Ben Morton, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet added the unit “provides a model for other regulators”.

ASIC has also committed to aligning its performance reporting with principles laid out in the government’s new Regulator Performance Guide, which has aimed to increase accountability and promote best practice.

[Related: APRA finalises exec pay standard]

Government welcomes ASIC red tape reduction mandate
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