Financial watchdog ASIC to target shady car financing, insurance and superannuation practices next year
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said today it will look into misconduct relating to car loans to vulnerable customers.
It will also crack down on the systematic erosion of retirement balances, predatory lending and mismanagement of insurance claims.
Sarah Court, deputy chairperson of ASIC, said: “Last year, we set ambitious enforcement priorities in response to industry and consumer demand for greater transparency on our key areas.”
“Enforcement priorities hold us accountable as a regulator, and importantly, they send a clear compliance and deterrence message to the entities we regulate.
“We are taking the case to court and imposing greater penalties than ever before.
“This year, acting contrary to our priorities, we took action against some of Australia’s largest corporations.
“And we are not afraid to take on challenging cases where legal outcomes are not guaranteed.”
ASIC will also more closely monitor digital and automated financial platforms and continue its crackdown on “greenwashing” – the practice that sees companies falsely promote eco-friendly and sustainable credentials.
The Court said, “We must test the scope of the laws that Parliament has made to protect market integrity, consumers and investors, to ensure that those laws have broad protective application.”
“Where the law is complex, new or open to interpretation, we are not doing our job if we do not fully explore its reach.
“Our aim is to create a culture of compliance across Australia’s financial system and corporate sector through decisive and high-profile enforcement action.”
The full list of enforcement priorities is as follows:
- Enforcement actions targeting poor distribution of financial products.
- Deceptive conduct in relation to sustainable finance, including greenwashing.
- High-cost loans and predatory lending practices to consumers and small businesses.
- Member services failures in the retirement sector.
- Malpractice results in systematic erosion of retirement balances.
- Settlement of insurance claims.
- Compliance with the reportable status system.
- Conduct affecting small businesses, including small business lenders.
- Enforcement action targeting gatekeepers who encourage misconduct.
- Malpractices related to used car financing to vulnerable consumers, including brokers, car dealers and finance companies.
- Compliance with financial hardship obligations.
- Technology and operational flexibility for market operators and market participants.