Australian Securities and Investments Commission

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets, and financial services regulator. Established in 1998, ASIC’s primary role is to enforce and regulate company and financial services laws to protect Australian consumers, investors, and creditors. It is an independent government body that operates under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act).

Functions and responsibilities of ASIC

Corporate regulation

ASIC regulates companies to ensure they operate fairly and transparently. This includes:

  • Company registration: Administering the registration and deregistration of companies, ensuring compliance with the Corporations Act 2001.
  • Corporate governance: Monitoring corporate governance practices and enforcing directors’ duties to protect shareholders and creditors.
  • Financial reporting: Ensuring companies adhere to proper financial reporting standards and practices.

Financial services regulation

ASIC oversees the financial services industry to protect consumers and maintain market integrity. This includes:

  • Licensing: Issuing Australian Financial Services (AFS) licenses to financial service providers and monitoring their compliance with licensing conditions.
  • Conduct supervision: Overseeing the conduct of financial service providers to ensure they act in the best interests of their clients and adhere to legal obligations.
  • Product regulation: Regulating financial products to ensure they are fair, transparent, and meet disclosure requirements.

Market regulation

ASIC ensures that financial markets operate efficiently, transparently, and fairly. This includes:

  • Market integrity: Monitoring market activities to detect and prevent market misconduct, such as insider trading and market manipulation.
  • Market infrastructure: Regulating market infrastructure, including stock exchanges and clearing and settlement facilities, to maintain robust and efficient markets.
  • Disclosure: Ensuring timely and accurate disclosure of information to the market to promote transparency and informed decision-making by investors.

Consumer protection

ASIC protects consumers in the financial system by:

  • Education: Providing educational resources to help consumers understand financial products and services.
  • Complaints handling: Addressing complaints and disputes involving financial service providers and taking enforcement action where necessary.
  • Financial literacy: Promoting financial literacy to help consumers make informed financial decisions.

Governance and structure of ASIC


ASIC is governed by a commission, which is responsible for making decisions on regulatory and enforcement matters. The commission consists of:

  • Chair: The chief executive officer of ASIC, appointed by the government for a term of up to five years.
  • Deputy chair: Assists the chair and may also be appointed for a term of up to five years.
  • Commissioners: Up to five additional commissioners appointed by the government, each bringing expertise in various areas of financial regulation.

Organisational structure

ASIC’s organisational structure includes several divisions, each focusing on specific regulatory areas, such as:

  • Corporations: Regulates company compliance, governance, and financial reporting.
  • Markets: Oversees market integrity, infrastructure, and disclosure.
  • Financial services: Regulates financial service providers and products.
  • Enforcement: Investigates and takes action against misconduct in the financial system.
  • Consumer protection: Focuses on protecting consumers and promoting financial literacy.

ASIC’s impact on the Australian economy

Market confidence

ASIC’s regulation and enforcement activities help maintain confidence in Australia’s financial markets by ensuring they operate fairly and transparently. This confidence is crucial for attracting investment and supporting economic growth.

Consumer protection

ASIC’s consumer protection efforts help safeguard Australians from financial misconduct and exploitation, ensuring they can trust the financial services they use. This protection fosters a more secure and stable financial environment.

Financial stability

By enforcing corporate governance standards and monitoring financial service providers, ASIC contributes to the overall stability of the financial system. This stability is essential for sustaining economic activity and growth.

Example of ASIC’s role in action

Consider a scenario where a financial advisor engages in misleading and deceptive conduct by providing unsuitable investment advice to clients. ASIC investigates the advisor, identifies breaches of the law, and takes enforcement action, which may include fines, license suspension, or banning the advisor from providing financial services. This action not only protects affected clients but also serves as a deterrent to other financial advisors, promoting a culture of compliance and integrity within the industry.


The Australian Securities and Investments Commission plays a vital role in regulating and overseeing Australia’s financial system. Through its comprehensive regulatory functions, ASIC helps ensure that companies operate transparently, financial markets function efficiently, and consumers are protected. Understanding ASIC’s responsibilities and impact is essential for anyone involved in the Australian financial landscape.

For more detailed information on ASIC and its activities, you can visit the ASIC’s official website.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this page is for general informational and educational purposes only and is never intended as financial advice. While we strive to ensure that the content is accurate and up-to-date, it may not reflect the most current legal or financial developments. Always consult with a qualified financial advisor or professional before making any financial decisions. Use the information at your own risk.

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