Published On: Mon, Oct 6th, 2014

ASIC And AFSA Announce Refreshed Memorandum Of Understanding

Greg Medcraft ASIC chairman -

Greg Medcraft ASIC chairman –

Australian Financial Security Authority’s Chief Executive Veronique Ingram and Commissioner John Price of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have announced the release of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between AFSA and ASIC.

ASIC and AFSA are responsible for the oversight of Australia’s insolvency systems for individuals and corporations.

Mr Price said the new memorandum facilitates the capacity for both agencies to work more cooperatively and productively.

‘While ASIC and AFSA have had similar memorandums, the latest agreement acknowledges the benefits obtained from sharing information and resources, while still maintaining proper information and privacy protections at a high level,’ Mr Price said.

Ms Ingram said that the new MOU further extends the liaison, cooperation, assistance and the exchange of information to enhance the effective and efficient performance of the regulatory functions of ASIC and AFSA.

The previous MOU between ASIC and the AFSA was signed in April 2002. The revised MOU has been updated to reflect developments since that time, including:

  • the Senate Economics References Committee 2010 report on The Regulation, Registration and Remuneration of insolvency Practitioners in Australia: The Case for a New Framework, which led to a range of proposals directed at harmonising and streamlining the personal and corporate insolvency systems, and
  • administrative and functional changes such as the change of name of Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia to AFSA and assumption by AFSA of responsibility for the Personal Property Securities Register, which incorporates the former ASIC Register of Company Charges.

Background:

  • The purpose of the MOU is framed more broadly to include the ‘need for cooperation and mutual assistance at all levels’, rather than merely referring to co-operation being ‘desirable’.
  • The name and description of AFSA has been revised to include new PPS functions and Registrar roles.
  • The section on ‘Liaison between agencies’ emphasises liaison in respect of ‘routine operational matters’ on an as needed basis.
  • A new section ‘Regulation and Policy Development’ highlights the benefits of agencies providing advance notice where policy and regulatory changes are concerned, and also for publications and media releases. A specific reference is also made to the option of jointly releasing policy or media statements.
  • Reflecting an emphasis on harmonisation of administrative functions, the MOU includes a new section titled, ‘Mutual Assistance and Cooperation’. It outlines how each agency, subject to applicable laws, will assist and cooperate with each other in a timely manner in a range of activities of mutual interest.
  • A new section reflects AFSA’s PPS role: ‘PPSR Cooperation’. This foreshadows a separate agreement/exchange of letters covering specific PPS liaison and operational matters.
  • The MOU retains a major focus on information, including ensuring that appropriate mechanisms are in place to request and safeguard information from the other agency and ensure the appropriate treatment of confidential information.

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