Media Release | 3 February 2015

Tougher ASIC to challenge financial services product development in 2015: Hall & Wilcox

A tougher ASIC will require financial services firms to think harder about their products and compliance systems during 2015, according to leading independent law firm Hall & Wilcox.

Harry New, a Partner at Hall & Wilcox, said the regulator is looking to intervene and make examples where they can. “Financial services firms need to be aware that ASIC is becoming less reactive and more proactive.

“On the product side in particular the regulator is becoming more interventionist and looking for the low hanging fruit.

“Financial services needs to get on the front foot to ensure their products, compliance system and culture is able to meet that increased scrutiny.”

Mr New said the tougher response was inevitable following high profile inquiries and reports into ASIC’s performance, CBA Financial Planning, the life insurance industry and agribusiness investment schemes during 2014.

Some reports suggest the government is considering giving ‘product intervention powers’ to ASIC, which may allow it to remove or ban financial products, change marketing documents, add consumer warnings, change labelling or terminology and impose distribution restrictions (“ASIC may get power to ban”, Australian Financial Review, 2 February 2015).

He said that market integrity is paramount but there needs to be a balance between reasonable regulation and the ability for the free market to innovate. “If there is too much power to intervene into product design, it may stifle innovation and increase compliance costs.”

Contact

Oliver Jankowsky

Partner & Head of International Practice

Ed Paton

Partner & Head of SE Asia Practice

Eugene Chen

Partner & Head of China Practice

Melanie Smith

Director - Business Development, Marketing and Communications

Natalie Bannister

Partner & Commercial National Practice Leader

Rhett Slocombe

Partner & Insurance National Practice Leader

Katie McKenzie

DIRECTOR - PEOPLE & CULTURE

James Bull

Special Counsel and Head of Frank

Melanie James

People & Culture Manager

Jacqui Barrett

Partner & Head of US Practice

Paul O’Donnell

Consultant & Head of Energy

Christopher Brown

Partner & Head of UK Practice

Lauren Parrant

Senior People & Culture Advisor, as at 1 July 2022

Melinda Woledge

Marketing & Communications Manager

Jasmine Koh

Senior Associate and Head of Frank

Alison Choy Flannigan

Partner & Leader, Health & Community

Billie Kerkez

Manager – Smarter Recovery Solutions

Peter Jones

Senior Commercial Counsel

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