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5.1 Regional and international engagement

ASIC engages closely with peer regulators and agencies overseas to develop international regulatory policy, enhance cooperation, and positively influence the operation and regulation of global financial markets.

We contribute to numerous international forums and multilateral or bilateral channels, including with domestic agencies, to ensure a coordinated and aligned approach.

We are committed to:

  • contributing to the global regulatory standard-setting agenda
  • promoting international cooperation and information sharing to act against misconduct
  • sharing regulatory best practice and capacity building
  • facilitating market innovation and economic development
  • responding to regulatory threats and harms.

In 2019–20, we actively advocated for:

  • global regulatory coordination and harmonisation in financial technology (fintech) and regulatory technology (regtech)
  • strengthened global information-sharing arrangements and enhanced cross-border supervisory and enforcement cooperation
  • deeper regional integration through initiatives such as the Asia Region Funds Passport and stronger regional supervisory cooperation, particularly on Trans-Tasman issues through closer collaboration with New Zealand regulators
  • greater focus on fairness and addressing misconduct, whether legal or not, particularly in the retail sector.

ASIC participates in a range of international forums:

  • ASIC is a member of the IOSCO Board and is represented on its policy committees and taskforces, including those examining issues around asset management, sustainable finance, crypto-assets, technology, market fragmentation, enforcement, and standards implementation. ASIC most recently took on a co-chairing role for the IOSCO Retail Market Conduct Task Force.
  • ASIC is chair of the Market Conduct Working Group of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS)
  • ASIC serves on the board of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR) and contributes to the International Accounting Standards Board
  • ASIC vice-chairs the International Financial Consumer Protection Organisation (FinCoNet) and participates in G20/Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Financial Consumer Protection Taskforce initiatives
  • ASIC participates in working groups established by the World Economic Forum on cyber risk and consumer data protection
  • ASIC contributes to the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Financial Regulators Training Initiative
  • ASIC is involved in international trade and policy investment discussions.

Promoting regional cooperation

Regional supervisory colleges

Supervisory colleges facilitate deeper dialogue and cooperation between regulators in the supervision of cross-border financial entities, enhance visibility of interdependencies, and promote better management of financial and non-financial risks.

ASIC and APRA will host the new Trans-Tasman Supervisory College, which, although deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remains a priority.

ASIC continued to participate in existing supervisory colleges this year, including those it recently joined in the insurance sector.

Trans-Tasman cooperation

ASIC and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand signed an MOU in December 2019 to enhance information exchange and cooperation.

In addition to developing the Trans-Tasman Supervisory College, we maintain close ties with New Zealand agencies via bilateral dialogue and forums such as the Trans-Tasman Banking Council and the Trans-Tasman Emerging Risk Committee.

IOSCO Asia–Pacific Regional Committee

We focused on strengthening our ties with IOSCO’s Asia–Pacific Regional Committee (APRC) this year by participating in APRC meetings and co-chairing the APRC Working Group on Enhancing Supervisory Cooperation.

International cooperation requests

This year, we made 497 international cooperation requests (up from 331 requests in 2018–19) and received 528 requests in relation to activities such as surveillance, supervision, enforcement, policy and licensing.

This included 140 requests for assistance in enforcement matters, of which 40 requests sought ASIC’s assistance to compel material from third parties under the Mutual Assistance in Business Regulation Act 1992.

COVID-19 pandemic

Our commitment to strong cooperation and collaboration with our overseas and domestic counterparts was highlighted this year as we focused on joint initiatives and sharing information on market developments, regulatory approaches and consumer protection measures as part of the global COVID-19 pandemic response.

Key initiatives included:

  • engagement with international standard-setting bodies, including IOSCO, the IAIS, the IFIAR, the OECD and the Financial Stability Board and counterpart overseas agencies in a coordinated approach to international issues related to consumer protection, market integrity and financial stability
  • working on financial stability issues through IOSCO’s Financial Stability Engagement Group
  • working with IOSCO’s Asia–Pacific Regional Committee to bring emerging concerns to the regional level, including common COVID-19 pandemic themes and cross-border spillover effects
  • co-leading the newly established IOSCO Retail Market Conduct Task Force examining measures to address misconduct, as well as retail investor and consumer protection issues
  • coordinating and sharing information with the Council of Financial Regulators and the Trans-Tasman Banking Council on international developments.

ASIC’s continued strategic participation in global regulatory developments informs and contributes to the way we address market vulnerabilities and consumer harms and how we support a domestic recovery in an interconnected global financial system.

Capacity building

Our capacity building initiatives are an important part of ASIC’s international regulatory strategy. They provide a unique perspective on how financial markets are changing in emerging economies and the regulatory challenges this poses, while allowing ASIC to share expertise with our peers.

In 2019, we delivered an APEC technical workshop in Brunei on the Asia Region Funds Passport to delegates from Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines.

We also continue to provide extensive assistance to the Indonesian Financial Services Authority, Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK), on emerging regulatory issues.

The objective is to strengthen OJK’s capacity to develop and implement global standards and practices and build a culture of responsive and skill-based surveillance and risk-focused supervision.

Before some of our face-to-face work was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had provided workshops on data strategy, participated in a seminar on Islamic capital markets, and hosted an OJK delegation focused on retail equity investment trusts and digital advice.

Financial Sector Assessment Program

ASIC continues to contribute to the cross-agency CFR working group comprised of members from the Australian Treasury, APRA, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) and ASIC to monitor progress against the 2018–19 Financial Sector Assessment Program review of Australia’s financial sector, conducted by the International Monetary Fund.