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Super, not advisers in ASIC’s 2024 gunsights

Mike Taylor22 November 2023
Computer gunsight

Financial advisers may be major contributors to the funding of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) via the ASIC levy but they did not get a single mention when the regulator outlined its focus areas moving into 2024.

Instead, ASIC chair, Joe Longo used his opening address to the regulator’s annual forum to declare that the focus would be on greenwashing, superannuation fund consumer outcomes and financial markets.

He declared that ASIC’s first area of focus would be poor governance and misleading disclosure around sustainable investing, stating that consumers might end up paying a ‘green’ premium for investing in fund that don’t even meet ESG standards.

Longo said the second area of ASIC focus would be retirement outcomes and “taking enforcement action for misconduct in the superannuation sector:”

“Poor marketing, distribution and advice practices leave consumers in sub-optimal investment choices, resulting in poor investment returns. Members suffer financially and emotionally as a result of superannuation fund governance and administration falling short of what Australians should expect from a mature superannuation system.

“Just over three-and-a-half million Australians are expected to retire during the next decade, with at least $750 billion of funds shifting from the accumulation phase to the retirement phase,” he said. “Trustees should put – must put – members at the heart of decision-making in relation to how superannuation products are developed, governed, and marketed.”

“Members must be at the heart of how funds operate day to day. But our review showed that trustees aren’t doing enough to enhance their members’ retirement outcomes. We will take strong action to protect consumers against conduct that is not efficient, honest and fair in this sector.”

On market surveillance, the ASIC chairman said that the regulator would be focusing on the technological and operational resilience of both market operators and market participants.

“As financial markets continue to become increasingly fragmented and digitised, the risks faced by our financial markets increase too. We’ve observed that where failures in implementation of automated systems aren’t identified in initial testing, they tend to persist. In some cases, for many years,” he said.

“The automated nature of these systems means market harm can far exceed that caused by errors stemming from manual processes, hence its strategic importance. For this reason, technological and operational resilience remains integral to ASICs mandate to supervise financial markets.”

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

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Real Advisers will get Screwed Yet Again
3 months ago

Ah so scary ASIC, that warning concludes ASICs attack on Industry Super.
Now back to chasing Advisers heads on sticks and killing Advisers with triple ASIC levies

Peter The Phantom Puller
3 months ago

we’ll just pick up the tab for whoever they choose to go after

3 months ago

Don’t believe him for a second. With the heat on ASIC they will fall back into their usual tactic. Find advisers handing out a FSCG too late or a FDS too early and ban them. Sent press releases to all media outlets to pretend they are doing something so politicians stop asking them about all their other failings.

Son of SDB
3 months ago

Doesn’t need to be mentioned. Everyone knows they will go after advisers and do their best to disrupt or counter any benefits that come out of QAR.

Davey NoFurries
3 months ago

‘Super, not advisers in ASIC’s 2024 gunsights’ -Whoever he means ASIC are targeting truthfully – be it super funds or advisers or both – the fact is that non-ISF advisers are paying for it through the ridiculous and unfair Levy no matter who ASIC is pursuing.

3 months ago

Ironic ASIC are looking at “poor governance and misleading disclosure” but when it comes to the ASIC levy, it’s all smoke & mirrors. Someone explain how ASIC can suddenly find they can take $8 million of the Adviser ASIC levy? Was their intention to bill advisers for $8 million of services not related to governing financial advisers in the first place?