ASIC “pointing to scalps and easy wins … might satisfy a shallow media day” but …

In the appearance of ASIC before the House Economics Committee today, 22 June, inquiring into ASIC’s 2016-2017 annual report, Mr Trevor Evans questioned ASIC about its opening statement offering “a long list of undertakings, media releases, scalps and so on”, and approached that Mr Evans said “worries me somewhat”.

Mr Evans continued:

“It strikes me that pointing to scalps and easy wins in one sense might satisfy a shallow media day in day out, but it might not ever directly confront some of the issues and problems in the sectors you’re responsible for. I put it to you that the actual compliance rate in the industries that you’re responsible for is much, much more important than these sorts of measurements. I would have preferred to see an approach that concentrated on that compliance rate. To put it in layman’s terms, I guess people would prefer to live in a society with low crime rates and low conviction rates rather than live in a crime hotspot and be reassured that officers are making 100 murder arrests every single day. So can I ask what steps you’re going to take to measure actual compliance rates?” 

Mr Shipton replied, including by saying that

“The headline numbers of surveillance actions or enforcement actions are important and are good metrics for us to keep in mind, but, as you’ve clearly indicated, they do not indicate that the ultimate goal is far more qualitative than quantitative”.

Mr Evans asked ASIC to come back to the committee with some ideas about the steps that it will take to ensure that it is not

“led down the path of chasing scalps, but will be focusing on some of the larger, more complex cases, such as we have seen with the banks”.

See the earlier comments of Murrays Legal on this rhetoric of ASIC, and on this committee inquiry.

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