The move follows the commission’s critique on the enforcement culture at Asic, which accused the regulator of making deals with banks that had committed serious breaches of the law, rather than taking legal action against them.
However, despite the enforcement office being ‘separate’ from the regulator, it will sit within the watchdog.
The Office of Enforcement (OE) will self-asses at least once a year, producing a report that gathers all comprehensive data to evaluate its own performance.
It will focus assessing and investigating breaches of law; either outside or in a court of law, on both corporate and individual culpability, as well as monitoring technologies and budgeting.
Not so independent?
Considering the Royal Commission’s remarks on enforcement culture at Asic, and its unwillingness to take banks that had broken the law to court; questions could be raised about how much sense it makes to set up the OE in this way.
The creation of a ‘separate’ office that will sit within Asic may not answer the questions and criticisms it has faced of late.
There was no information provided to indicate how the OE’s independence would be safeguarded.
Willing to change
“The Royal Commission emphasised the need to, as much as possible, separate enforcement staff from the Asic’s non-enforcement contact with regulated entities” the regulator said.
“Asic has determined to establish a separate Office of Enforcement within Asic. [That is because] Asic’s enforcement culture requires investigations to be conducted with a clear view of the regulatory outcomes to be achieved and with a focus on the question, “why not litigate?’.”