Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) ChairmanTony D'Aloisio

ASIC is Australia's corporate, markets and financial services regulator. It is responsible for ensuring that Australia's financial markets are fair and transparent, supported by confident and informed investors and consumers. We caught up with ASIC's Chairman Tony D'Aloisio to learn more about ASIC and it's focus for the coming year.

What are ASIC's priorities for the coming year?

2011 is going to be a big year for us. We will continue to deliver across each of our six strategic priority areas, such as improving confidence in financial market integrity and assisting retail investors and consumers, as well as delivering cost-effective services.

At the same time, we will focus on implementing our new responsibilities, including:

  • market supervision
  • regulation of consumer credit and finance broking
  • regulation of trustee companies
  • administering laws to deal with unfair terms in consumer contracts
  • assuming responsibility for the National Business Names register.

How does ASIC aim to improve its effectiveness and service levels?

We expect to see a significant improvement in service levels when we assume responsibility for a new national business name registration service. The introduction of the National Business Names Register online service is part of a whole-of-government initiative to save time and cut costs for people starting new businesses.

One of the key features of the new service is that a business name will only have to be registered once. Currently businesses register their business name in every state and territory in which they trade. The registration will also be available online, with confirmation of registration received immediately in most cases.

An important element of this project is our collaboration with the ATO and Australian Business Register (ABR) in the delivery of a joint online application for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and national business name registration. This streamlining of registrations will assist the establishment of a new business.

Further information regarding the commencement of the national register will be provided shortly.

Who are the key stakeholders ASIC works with to regulate the corporate and financial markets?

With a focus on delivering strong results for all stakeholders, ASIC often works with other regulators and organisations such as the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

ASIC is also a member of the Council of Financial Regulators, the coordinating body for Australia's main financial regulatory agencies. Other members are the RBA, APRA and Treasury. The Council's role is to contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of financial regulation by providing a high-level forum for cooperation and collaboration among its members.

How do ASIC and the ATO work together?

We signed an agreement with the ATO in 2007 to consolidate and strengthen our working relationship. We are currently looking at ways to strengthen this relationship further through the development of joint initiatives and taskforces, including initiatives to improve data integrity through data exchange between ASIC and the ABR.

Can you give an example of illegal activity ASIC and the ATO work together to identify?

The ATO and ASIC share responsibility for combating illegal phoenix activity. Phoenix activity involves the evasion of tax and other liabilities, such as employee entitlements, through the deliberate and sometimes cyclic liquidation of related corporate trading entities.

In 2009-10, ASIC disqualified 90 directors from the right to manage a corporation for insolvency and phoenix-related offences.

ASIC is serious about tackling phoenix activity and will continue to push the existing legislative and administrative mechanisms to address illegal phoenix activity. We will also continue to work with Treasury and the ATO on strategies to reduce the incentive to engage in this type of illegal behaviour.

    Last modified: 18 Jan 2013QC 28254