On 22 August 2017, ASIC released a report regarding its enforcement outcomes from the first half of 2017. The report also flags what the focus of ASIC’s enforcement activity will be over the next six months (1 July to 31 December 2017). Consumer credit continues to be a key focus for ASIC, as do obligations of Australian financial services (AFS) licensees.
In the first half of 2017 the majority (59%) of ASIC enforcement in relation to financial services related to credit and 8% of ASIC’s enforcement relating to financial services was connected with dishonest conduct and misleading statements.
For the second half of 2017, in relation to the financial services industry, ASIC will be focusing on:
- Responsible lending practices in the consumer credit industry;
- Financial advisers’ compliance with their obligations to act in the best interests of the client and provide appropriate advice to clients;
- AFS licensees’ failure to deliver ongoing advice services to financial advice customers who are paying fees for those services;
- Conduct in the credit repaid industry that results in consumers being deceived or misled; and
- Instances where AFS licensees claim to provide general advice to retail clients during the sale of financial products (and therefore do not need to comply with the best interests duty and related obligations), but are actually providing personal advice.
Further information regarding ASIC’s enforcement outcomes for January to June 2017, and enforcement objectives for the remainder of the year, can be found here.