The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said today it would be keeping an eye out for misconduct relating to car loans for vulnerable customers.
It will also be cracking down on the systematic erosion of superannuation balances, predatory lending, and the improper handling of insurance claims.
“Last year, we set ambitious enforcement priorities in part as a response to industry and consumer demand for more transparency on our key areas of focus,” ASIC deputy chair Sarah Court said.
“The enforcement priorities hold us, as a regulator, accountable, and importantly, they send a clear compliance and deterrence message to the entities we regulate.
“We are taking matters to court and pursuing higher penalties than ever before.
“In delivering against our priorities this year, we took action against some of Australia’s biggest corporations.
“And we are not deterred from taking challenging cases where legal outcomes are not guaranteed.”
ASIC will also be more closely monitoring digital and automated financial platforms and will continue its crackdown on “greenwashing” – the practice that sees companies falsely promote environmentally friendly and sustainable credentials.
“We must test the scope of the laws that parliament has enacted to protect market integrity, consumers and investors, to ensure those laws have a wide protective application,” Court said.
“Where the law is complex, new or open to interpretation, we are not doing our job if we do not fully explore its reach.
“Our goal is to create a culture of compliance across Australia’s financial system and the corporate sector more generally through decisive and high-profile enforcement action.”
The full list of enforcement priorities is 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.