Ensuring strong and effective financial system regulators

For Australians to have trust in the financial system, the regulatory framework must be enforced by effective regulators.

The Government has taken significant action to increase the capabilities, powers and funding of the financial regulators, and to refresh their leadership. We have also introduced or consulted on a number of pieces of legislation, including in respect of many of the recommendations of the 2017 ASIC Enforcement Review, to ensure our financial regulators have the powers they need to take strong action to protect consumers from corporate and financial sector misconduct.

Additional funding of $170 million has also been provided to ASIC, APRA, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and the Federal Court to ensure our regulators are appropriately resourced to hold those who engage in misconduct to account.

We will ensure our regulators are strong and effective, including by:

  • clarifying ASIC and APRAs regulatory roles and powers in superannuation, with ASIC becoming the primary conduct regulator;
  • ensuring regulators have access to appropriate powers by creating civil penalties for specific breaches of the law for superannuation trustees and directors;
  • creating an independentlychaired regulator oversight body, and applying accountability principles consistent with the BEAR to the regulators themselves;
  • conducting regular capability reviews of both financial regulators, with a capability review of APRA commencing in 2019; and
  • expanding the jurisdiction of the Federal Court to cover corporate criminal misconduct to expedite the consideration of cases brought by regulators.

While these reforms are critical, much of the needed change must come from the regulators themselves. The Government welcomes the actions the regulators are taking to begin changing their practices, including a tougher approach to enforcement and more intensive supervision approaches.

While the Government has also provided significant funding to the regulators, the findings and recommendations from the Royal Commission, along with more than 20 referrals, will require the regulators to take on new responsibilities and, in many cases, simply do more. The Government will work with the regulators to ensure that they remain appropriately resourced and will consider what additional funding is required in the 201920 Budget context.