ASIC pumps $717m into government coffers
Fees and charges levied by the corporate regulator have soared 7 per cent to $717 million, driven by revenue from the new National Business Names Register.
The fees, which include company search fees, licence fees and fines, are charged on behalf of the government and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission does not get to keep the money.
It has been suggested ASIC might hive off the company registry, which charges search fees higher than those in the UK, Hong Kong or Singapore, as part of a restructure of the under-pressure regulator.
In his chairman's report, ASIC head Greg Medcraft said he welcomed a Senate inquiry into its performance, launched in June after concerns about its response to rogue financial planners at the Commonwealth Bank.
"Following the recent federal election, we are considering our contribution to any review of the financial system," Mr Medcraft said.
He said ASIC was "thinking about the current regulatory boundaries" and the way particular sectors were regulated.
Since the Wallis Inquiry in 1997, Australia's corporate regulatory system has concentrated on ensuring risks are properly disclosed to consumers, rather than banning risky investments.
However, Mr Medcraft said: "For example, we are considering whether disclosure is the best way to address certain market failures, new forms and channels for disclosure - including e-learning - and what behavioural economics tells us about how consumers make decisions."
Pointing to the increase in ASIC's jurisdiction in recent years - it now regulates consumer credit and stockbroker conduct - Mr Medcraft said that "to maintain our pro-active approach, our resources need to be adequate - and appropriately deployed".