Australian Regulatory Update – 7 November 2022

By Jim Bulling and Anabelle Weinberg

1.           ASIC Annual Forum

The ASIC Annual Forum was held on 3 – 4 November 2022 with a number of significant announcements being made.

Firstly, ASIC has for the first time announced their enforcement priorities for 2023. ASIC now intends to do this on an annual basis.

The enforcement priorities for 2023 include:

  • Enforcement action targeting poor design, pricing and distribution of financial products;
  • Misleading conduct in relation to sustainable finance including greenwashing; and
  • Misconduct involving high risk products including cryptocurrencies.

Additionally, during the panel discussion “Where to with Crypto?”, comments from Joe Longo, ASIC Chair, signal that ASIC continues to be wary of cryptocurrencies. Mr Longo said that his “central message for consumers is that [crypto] is a risky, speculative and poorly understood activity, which has to be distinguished from the innovation of the underlying technology“. He further commented that “the capacity for consumer and investor harm is really, really significant” for cryptocurrencies.

2.           Financial adviser registration delayed

The Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services have announced a six-month delay to the requirement to register financial advisers with ASIC. All financial advisers who provide personal advice to retail clients will now need to be registered by 1 July 2023.

3.           FinTech Australia has published its 2022 Census

This year’s FinTech Australia Census has revealed that, while the sector continues to grow, the biggest challenges fintech founders face is raising capital and competing with big tech companies for talent.

Payments, wallets and supply chain fintechs were most successful, with 21% of this segment raising more than $100 million.

ESG considerations were identified as one area for improvement, with only 30% of fintechs currently measuring their business sustainability or carbon footprint.

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