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The Australian Senate recently voted to launch a two-year inquiry into the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and its handling of complaints from the public and whistleblowers.

The inquiry will examine ASIC’s necessary capabilities and the effective utilization of its $800 million budget in investigating misconduct. The review was partly prompted by economist John Adams’ analysis of the regulator’s annual reports over ten years, which revealed a sharp increase in the number of whistleblower complaints on which ASIC took no action.

A Senate committee will investigate ASIC’s process for dealing with disputes between businesses and customers, the effectiveness of its actions in deterring misconduct, and how it allocates its budget to enforcement and investigations. The inquiry is expected to conclude its investigations in mid-2024.

“It is time for a much closer look at ASIC’s law enforcement record and capability,” Senator Andrew Bragg, who pushed for the inquiry, said. “ASIC must get better at its one job of law enforcement or the integrity of our financial system is at risk.”

In the coming months, Starling will publish “Physician, Heal Thyself,” a Deeper Dive supplement to our 2022 Compendium, which will discuss the global push to hold regulators accountable for their organizational culture and the outcomes such culture may drive. Regulators, that is, are increasingly being held to a standard regarding culture and conduct that they have emphasized in recent years among the firms they oversee. This Deeper Dive will only be available here on Starling Insights.

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