ASIC has published Changes to regulatory work and priorities in response to COVID-19, which sets out its changed regulatory priorities and support arrangements that are available on a temporary basis (possibly until at least 30 September 2020).
Summary of Reprioritisation
* ASIC will allow additional time for the industry to respond to ASIC notices;
* Enforcement action will continue, but there may be some changes to the timing and process of investigations;
* Unless otherwise indicated by ASIC, licensees can provide updates on remediation consistent with their internal reporting in lieu of the current form and scheduling of reporting arrangements; and
* Financial advice licensees should put measures in place that allow on-site audits of their representatives for compliance with general obligations to be conducted remotely.
In addition, ASIC will defer:
* various consultations, regulatory reports, and reviews; and
* ASIC’s ‘enhanced approach of Close and Continuous Monitoring Program’ (although remote monitoring and APRA information sharing will continue).
ASIC will increase:
* market monitoring to ensure investors are appropriately informed, and protected against manipulation and abuse;
* support for consumers who may be vulnerable to scams and sharp practices, receive poor advice, or need assistance in finding information and support should they fall into hardship; and
* support to firms to facilitate the timely completion of capital raising and other urgent transactions, providing regulatory relief, where appropriate, and identifying measures to support small business.
ASIC will amend:
* the timing and method of investigations and enforcement to reduce the regulatory burden on firms;
* constraints created by variations to usual court procedures; and
* the order of priority of action.
All ASIC regulated entities should read ASIC’s Changes to regulatory work and priorities for details.
Regulated entities must continue to treat customers fairly, avoid further financial harm or burden to consumers, and act to maintain the integrity and efficiency of markets.
If your organisation is experiencing challenges responding to an ASIC regulatory notice due to the impact of COVID-19, you could request a time extension from ASIC so long as you have a valid reason and an appropriate and realistic estimate of time for compliance with a notice. ASIC will expect that any agreed, extended timeframes will be met.