Two key players in Australian financial services regulation jungle have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) focusing on fostering a fair and efficient financial services landscape and information sharing.
The Australian Financial Conduct Authority (AFCA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have signed the MoU to document how the entities will better engage, through information sharing and other forms of cooperation and coordination.
The MoU sets out a range of possible intertwined responsibilities, such as AFCA's responsibility to resolve complaints about financial firms, including firms regulated by ASIC, and ASIC providing regulatory oversight functions in relation to the AFCA scheme.
The commitment to inform, consult, collaborate and engage effectively with one another and share as much information as possible to assist in the proper function of their powers could play out in a better process for complaints to be dealt with more efficiently and for ASIC to better manage their enforcement function and learn about patterns of complaints.
The Chief Executive Officer and Chief Ombudsman of AFCA, Mr David Locke said:
This MoU reflects our already productive relationship and our intention to maintain that proactive, open and collaborative relationship in performing our respective functions
While the Chair of ASIC, Mr Joe Longo echoed that sentiment:
We share a common interest in ensuring that financial firms treat consumers fairly and properly resolve issues when loss has been caused. We know that a well-regulated and stable financial services sector is important for promoting consumer confidence
The collaboration comes off the back of Anti-Scam Week in Australia and joins a nation-wide push to reduce the amount of people that are affected by scams each year. While there has been a 16% decrease in losses compared to the same quarter last year, there is still significant scam losses occurring in Australia and AFCA, ASIC and other regulators all need to work together to keep fighting the never-ending battle against scams..
By Michael Bacina and Luke Misthos