What Is ASIC?
ASIC was founded on the result of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act of 2001. It is an independent governing body responsible for overseeing Australia's financial services and markets.
Businesses must be aware that ASIC is active in regulating all business areas, not just the financial markets. Therefore, they regulate all Australian companies, which include foreign-owned businesses. In addition, every state capital has a service centre from the ASIC regulatory body.
What Is ASIC Responsible for?
Now let us focus on the responsibilities of ASIC so you can better understand how they help protect customer money during international money transfers. Learning about the regulatory responsibilities of ASIC provides faith in the trustworthiness of money transfer companies.
The primary responsibilities of ASIC include:
Maintaining and improving the performance of the financial system.
Installing and maintaining confidence in the financial system.
Create and enforce minimal procedure requirements.
Help with the process of registering companies and providing that information publicly.
Enforcing the law, which includes handing out criminal and civil penalties.
ASIC provides consumer education that can be utilised by money transfer company customers to learn how the regulatory body protects them. Also, they provide general advice about how to manage money and follow smart money-saving practices. For example, those without education in how to manage personal fiancés can turn to ASIC for guidance.
Why Is ASIC Important?
This section outlines the importance of ASIC as a regulatory body to regular consumers and businesses alike. It will give you an idea of why ASIC was created in the first place. However, remember that some of these duties overlap with other Australian regulatory bodies.
The ASIC is important because they have the weight of the Australian Government behind them. This means they can hand out fines and even criminal prosecutions if they feel it merits the case. Therefore, they have strong powers to enforce the laws they were assigned to uphold.
During a 2019 amendment, the laws relating to the civil and criminal penalties that did not follow ASIC guidelines were strengthened. This increased the powers that ASIC has, and it now has more tools in its kit to stop businesses from taking part in shady practices.
Additionally, ASIC is important because of the factors outlined below.
Fairness: they aim to create a fair marketplace for businesses to compete. They can do this by ensuring that the financial markets have integrity and transparency. This means that bad actors are discovered and removed from the system.
Confidence: investors need to be confident in a market to spend their hard-earned money. ASIC performs the role of improving the confidence of investors and new business owners that might want to start a new venture in Australia.
Licenses: ASIC issues financial licenses and monitors those businesses for fair practices. This means they are the hub that companies and consumers can turn to for help or report a problem.
An example of ASIC in action is when they penalized Westpac with a fine of $113 million. That is because they failed to ensure the compliance of multiple of their businesses, which include insurance brands, wealth management, superannuation, and banking. Several separate issues were investigated, but the last fine was issued in November 2021.
Now let us turn our attention to the regulations, crimes, and industries that ASIC oversees. This section provides context for the scope of their operations and how they protect money transfer consumers.
Regulations: ASIC has the responsibility of upholding the laws set by the Australian Government. The laws grant ASIC formal powers to hand out penalties or prosecute criminally. The regulations are constantly updated, and in 2019 they were strengthened to give ASIC more powers when regulating the Australian financial markets.
The regulatory powers that ASIC uses include the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act), Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act), Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (National Credit Act), and the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response—Better Advice) Act 2021 (Better Advice Act)
Crimes: ASIC protects against a wide range of crimes in the Australian financial markets, which include fraud, money laundering, overcharging of fees, mismanagement of customer finances, charging for additional insurance policies, and providing inadequate systems. As technology develops and financial systems change, the specific crimes that ASIC handles will also change.
Industries: ASIC is in charge of monitoring any businesses that take part in financial markets. This includes insurance companies, deposit-taking institutions like banks, and superannuation. Their scope is vast, and they complete their duties with the help of other regulators like the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
Accountability: Ultimately, ASIC is a regulator the Australian Government has appointed—meaning they are accountable to them, and that is the authority to whom they answer.
What Regions Does ASIC Cover?
ASIC is primarily in charge of businesses and financial entities that operate in Australian markets. This includes every region of Australia. However, they also work with international companies and regulators to ensure they can fulfil their duties.
This might include the sharing of information regarding international money transfers. The collaboration helps ASIC to improve its ability to protect the Australian financial markets from bad actors and companies that are not following the law.
When Might You Encounter ASIC?
There are many scenarios where regular consumers might encounter ASIC. This might be when consumers decide to use ASIC to learn about businesses or money transfer companies they want to use. For example, there is an ASIC Register that consumers can use to look up specific companies. These are publicly available, and most searches do not require a fee. The register shares information about companies, banned persons, and financial advisors.
You can also use ASIC to learn more about money management and how to interact with financial entities in the Australian markets. This education promotes your protection as a consumer and teaches you how to use money to suit your needs.
Can ASIC Make New Rules?
ASIC does have the power to change some rules. For example, on the 10th of March 2022, ASIC amended a few market integrity rules and other ASIC-made rule books. These aimed to improve securities and futures markets' technological and operational resilience.
However, many of the laws that ASIC has to enforce are Australian Commonwealth Laws created by the Government. This means ASIC has less power than other regulators like APRA, which can create their own legal framework.
How to Contact ASIC?
You may want to contact ASIC to report broken laws or suspicious behaviour by money transfer companies that you are using to send money to Australia. Here are the primary contact details:
Complaint form: navigate to the homepage and find the Complaint Form in the bottom right-hand corner. You can use this to report alleged misconduct or file a complaint with ASIC.
Social media: you can connect with them on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Phone: give ASIC a call on 1300 300 630 within Australia and + 61 3 5177 5407 outside Australia.
Physical mail: you can send them physical mail at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, GPO Box 9827, Brisbane QLD 4001.
Email: send them an email at email@example.com
To conclude, ASIC is one of the most critical regulatory bodies for the Australian financial markets. First, they issue licenses and monitor the companies in their registers. They also check the business practices of money transfer companies, which protect consumers. Finally, they educate consumers about various aspects of the Australian financial markets.
We encourage you to learn more about sending money to Australia by checking out our other guides. You can start with Send Money from the United States to Australia and Send Money to Australia. Reading these guides will equip you with the knowledge to reduce transfer times, get lower fees and get the best FX rates.