ASIC, APRA recalibration of priorities for COVID-19 - welcome step, but more required

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has applauded ASIC’s and APRA’s move to reprioritise regulatory work programs in light of the demands of the COVID-19 crisis.

"ASIC and APRA’s announcements today are a very welcome and necessary step. We encourage other regulators such as the ATO, ACNC and ACCC to take a similar stance."

"The AICD has called for all levels of government to limit non-urgent and routine regulatory obligations on business, NFPs and organisations as they struggle through this crisis", said Angus Armour, AICD Managing Director and CEO.

"Decisive action is needed to support the community through this unfolding health and economic crisis, and deferring new compliance obligations to free up regulators and organisations to focus on the impacts of COVID-19 is essential," said Mr Armour.

Today, ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) announced it would focus its regulatory efforts on the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and immediately suspended a number of not-time-critical activities.

ASIC has said its priorities would focus on “the risk of significant consumer harm, serious breaches of the law, risks to market integrity and time-critical matters”.

APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) also announced that it has suspended the majority of its regulatory work at least until the end of September.

The Authority’s primary supervision focus would be on monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on the financial and operational capacity of regulated institutions. It is also reconsidering the implementation dates and transition timeframes for standards yet to be implemented.

The AICD is calling on all levels of government to reprioritise and adjust regulatory expectations, including deferring upcoming new compliance obligations for six months. Steps should include extending timeframes for 'BAU' filings, removing government charges for business and consumers, and targeting policy and regulator resources at urgent short-term regulatory demands.

Mr Armour said, “This is not business as usual. Governments at all levels must do all they can to lift compliance obligations unless they are critical for public safety and community safety nets, or directly relate to the COVID-19 situation.”

Media Contact: Maegen Sykes 0439 167 567

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