On 31 October 2017, ASIC published its 2017-2018 business plans for each regulated sector. These business plans detail information about ASIC’s regulatory actions, as well as ASIC’s areas of focus for the coming financial year.

Background

Each year, ASIC publishes business plans relevant to each sector it regulates which provide insight into ASIC’s key projects relating to:

  • stakeholder engagement;
  • consumer education;
  • future guidance;
  • areas of surveillance;
  • areas of enforcement; and
  • policy advice.

These business plans complement ASIC's Corporate Plan which was published on 31 August 2017.

Business Plans and Cross-Sector Project Business Plans

The business plans published by ASIC include:

Along with sector specific business plans, ASIC has also released three cross-sector project business plans on:

Key Points from Business Plans

We recommend reviewing the full business plans relevant to your business sector. However, by way of summary, we have outlined ASIC’s key areas of focus in regards to guidance, surveillance and enforcement, for the coming financial year.

Guidance

In relation to future guidance, ASIC will endeavour to:

  • Update regulatory guidance and publish reports on surveillance outcomes and thematic reviews to articulate standards and expectations; as well as
  • Improve accountants' understanding of their Australian Financial Services (AFS) licence and compliance obligations to ensure proper transition to the AFS licensing regime.

Surveillance

In terms of surveillance, ASIC will be particularly focusing on the following:

  • Accountants that have entered the financial advice industry and are providing unlicensed financial advice;
  • Responsible lending practices among brokers and lenders with high proportions of interest–only loans;
  • Loan fraud, particularly in the home loan market, to improve industry practices;
  • Unfair contract terms in small business loans;
  • The mis-selling of credit products to vulnerable consumers; and
  • Advertising materials containing misleading and deceptive conduct and false and misleading representations.

Enforcement

ASIC will be investigating and taking action, where appropriate, in relation to misconduct concerning (but not limited to):

  • unfair contract terms;
  • illegal phoenix activity;
  • failure to lodge Annual Financial Reports;
  • failure to lodge Annual Compliance Certificate;
  • directors with dishonesty convictions;
  • SME registered liquidators’ independence, competence and improper gain;
  • unlicensed conduct by accountants providing financial advice; and
  • licensees that fail to correct or update information on the Financial Adviser Register.