ASIC ended 2023 by publishing its ASIC enforcement and regulatory update: July to September 2023 together with its enforcement priorities for 2024.
2023 enforcement reviews
In its 2023 reviews (here and here) ASIC says it had a strong focus on greenwashing, the protection of vulnerable consumers from predatory lenders, and poor design, pricing and distribution of financial products.
Its 2023 enforcement priorities also included crypto; misleading conduct and poor governance in the superannuation sector; and failures to deliver on insurance pricing promises. It was also concerned about unfair contract terms and governance and directors’ duties failures.
2024 enforcement priorities
ASIC says its new areas of focus for 2024 include conduct impacting small business including small business creditors, compliance with the reportable situation regime; and action against gatekeepers that engage in misconduct.
In 2024, it will also add two new priorities in relation to the superannuation industry: a focus on member services failures and misconduct relating to the erosion of superannuation balances.
New priorities relating to insurance claims handling, compliance with financial hardship obligations and the reportable situation regime have also been added.
In addition, ASIC will be taking action against misconduct relating to used car financing to vulnerable consumers and gatekeepers such as auditors, registered liquidators and financial services and credit licensees who do not comply with their legal obligations.
ASIC has summarised its 2024 priorities as follows:
- Enforcement action targeting poor distribution of financial products
- Misleading conduct in relation to sustainable finance including greenwashing
- High-cost credit and predatory lending practices to consumers and small business
- Member services failures in the superannuation sector
- Misconduct resulting in the systematic erosion of superannuation balances
- Insurance claims handling
- Compliance with the reportable situation regime
- Conduct impacting small business including small business creditors
- Enforcement action targeting gatekeepers facilitating misconduct
- Misconduct relating to used car financing to vulnerable consumers including brokers, car dealers and finance companies
- Compliance with financial hardship obligations
- Technology and operational resilience for market operators and market participants
Its continuing priorities are:
- Misconduct damaging market integrity including insider trading, continuous disclosure breaches and market manipulation
- Misconduct impacting First Nations people
- Misconduct involving a high risk of significant consumer harm particularly conduct targeting financially vulnerable consumers
- Systemic compliance failures by large financial institutions resulting in widespread consumer harm
- New or emerging conduct risks within the financial system
- Governance and directors’ duties failures particularly with respect to cyber resilience.
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Author: David Jacobson
Principal, Bright Corporate Law
About David Jacobson
The information contained in this article is not legal advice. It is not to be relied upon as a full statement of the law. You should seek professional advice for your specific needs and circumstances before acting or relying on any of the content.