ASIC Chair issues ‘fairness challenge’ at Annual Forum

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The 24th ASIC Annual Forum in Sydney on 16-17 May 2019 saw more than 950 delegates attend 13 sessions on how financial market participants can meet community expectations when dealing with other people’s money.

In his introductory comments, ASIC Chair James Shipton said the theme of this year’s forum, ‘Other people’s money’, was to remind the finance industry of its core function – to serve people – and its obligation to act efficiently, honestly and fairly.

‘Financial institutions must rise to this challenge,’ said Mr Shipton. ‘We do not want to see resistance and reluctance to the job that the community expects us to do as a conduct regulator and corporations law enforcer.’

In closing the annual forum, Mr Shipton added that Australia’s finance industry needed to embrace the concept of ‘first, do no harm’.

In what he termed the ‘fairness challenge’, Mr Shipton said everyone in finance must have the procedural discipline to ask, ‘Is this practice or product going to cause harm, be detrimental or have a negative consequence?’

‘I am not convinced this level of questioning and procedural discipline has been applied by the financial industry when developing, and reviewing, business practices and financial products,’ said Mr Shipton.

He added that financial systems not only need to be fairer – they must also be more inclusive.

‘Ultimately, we need a financial system that not only serves every segment of the community but also is one where those who work in it feel proud of being a part of it,’ he said. ‘Proud because there is a broader community purpose to what they do and proud because they are professional in how they do it.’

The forum, which attracted a record number of delegates, coincided with the 44th Annual Meeting of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), hosted by ASIC in Sydney. IOSCO is the international body of regulators that oversee the world’s securities and futures markets.

A total of 415 international delegates attended the IOSCO Annual Meeting on 13-17 May 2019, which brought together thought-leaders from Australia and around the world. More than half of these IOSCO delegates also attended the ASIC Annual Forum and several were included in forum panel discussions to provide global regulatory perspectives.

Many countries’ financial regulators said they faced the same opportunities and challenges as ASIC, as global financial markets become more integrated.

For more information, read James Shipton’s ASIC Annual Forum introductory comments and closing remarks.

More on IOSCO

IOSCO was established in 1983. Its membership regulates more than 95% of the world’s securities markets in more than 115 jurisdictions. Securities regulators in emerging markets account for 75% of its ordinary membership. Visit www.iosco.org

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