This week in separate speeches at the ASIC Annual Forum, ASIC's Chair and Deputy Chair underlined ASIC's record on enforcement, pointing to the regulators' record post-Hayne in support. ASIC also unveiled its enforcement priorities for the next 12 months. These include in addition to a number of new priorities, a continued focus on DDO compliance (albeit with a new focus on the distribution of financial products ('reasonable steps')) as well as sustainable finance and greenwashing. On the ESG front, Australia is inching closer to the introduction of mandatory climate disclosure requirements, negotiations for a global plastics treaty are continuing and more…

 Boards and Directors 

  • Directors may have a statutory duty to use AI? 

Diversity

  • CEO roles: Report reveals a long journey ahead for gender parity, citing low appointment and retention rates for women 

Remuneration

  • Remuneration disclosure requirements: New APRA instrument registered 
  • In Brief | As You Sow report finds that S&P500 companies with the most 'overpaid' CEOs have delivered lower returns to shareholders than the average S&P 500 company over the past decade. As You Sow considers this undermines the rationale often given for 'outrageous pay packages' ie that high pay is necessary to recruit and retain top executives to deliver the best returns to shareholders 

ESG

  • Inching closer | Further steps to support the (planned) introduction of mandatory climate disclosure in Australia 
  • Global collaboration for greenhouse gas emissions transparency: Australia joins international working group to improve measurement and verification across gas supply chains 
  • Global coalition targets financial backers in protest against Mozambique LNG Project 
  • Global plastics treaty: It's hoped that the final text will be ready by the end of 2024, but WWF has raised concerns about the lack of progress achieved 

Meetings and Proxy Advisers

  • 2023 AGM season: Shareholders continue to 'strike' on pay 

Regulators

  • Top Story | ASIC's 2024 enforcement priorities 
  • New ASIC Commissioners commence their terms 
  • In Brief | The AFR reports that the government is set to release a statement of expectations for ASIC focused on financial services, cyber and climate risk 

Financial Services

  • Consultation on new anti-scam industry Code for banks, telcos and social media platforms expected soon, smaller banks not proposed to be exempt and urged to engage in the consultation 
  • Consumer credit | Tackling predatory lending, DDO compliance, compliance with the reportable situations regime and combatting 'digitally enabled misconduct' highlighted as key enforcement priorities for ASIC 
  • Improving access to financial counselling: Introduction of new industry funding model announced 
  • Legislation to ban credit cards for online gambling has progressed to the Senate 
  • A Bill proposing to legislate an 'objective' for superannuation has been introduced 
  • ASIC consults on proposed changes to the ABA's Banking Code 

Risk Management

  • Government's new national cyber strategy to include additional supports for small business 
  • Strengthening the public sector whistleblower scheme | Consultation opens on second stage of reforms 
  • In Brief | Reports of cybercrime submitted through ReportCyber have jumped 23% on last year: The latest Cyber Threat Report from the Australian Signals Directorate's Australian Cyber Security Centre confirms that 'malicious cyber activity in Australia continued to increase in terms of frequency, cost and severity' compared with last year 

Other News

  • Federal Court proposed to have jurisdiction over corporations matters: New Bill introduced 
  • Top Story | Starter gun fired on merger reforms in Australia 

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