ASIC to Publish Guidance on Product Intervention Measures in June

In its revised timetable of ongoing work, ASIC said further guidance will be published this month.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced this Thursday that further guidance on how it will use its product intervention powers will be published in June of 2020.

In its revised timetable of ongoing work, ASIC said that it will publish a regulatory guide in June 2020, which will lay out how the regulator plans on using its new powers. Therefore, market participants might have a better idea of when these measures will be put in place.

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The previous version of the timeline stated that the guidance would be published today, the 11th of June 2020. However, now the timeline simply shows the guidance will be published in “June 2020”.

As Finance Magnates reported, in August of last year, the Australian watchdog published its consultation paper which proposed to ban binary options and place leverage restrictions on CFDs.

Since then, the Australian regulator has received a large response and is yet to actually implement its proposed changes, even though 10 months have passed. In recent months the agency has readjusted its priorities in wake of COVID-19, in which the watchdog said it would be postponing some of its plans to focus on issues that needed its immediate attention.

Retail protection remains focus for ASIC

However, any mention of its consultation paper on CFD restrictions had been left out. More than that, ASIC published a report in May, which highlighted that retail traders posted net losses of AU$234 million from trading CFDs from the 16th until March 22, 2020.

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In an interview with Finance Magnates only yesterday, Sophie Gerber, the co-CEO of TRAction Fintech and principal of legal firm Sophie Grace said that client losses and retail investor protection when trading CFDs still remains at the forefront of the authority’s mind.

“So we are anticipating that a version of the product intervention against CFDs will be released before the end of 2020,” Gerber explained. “We are encouraging our clients to start taking steps to review the draft order and make the necessary preparations to be able to meet the conditions once they come in, as the lead time for some of the requirements is quite short.”

In the statement from ASIC today, James Shipton, the Chair of the regulator said: “The revised timetable of ongoing work is an important step in assisting the transition of the business community and broader economy to a post-pandemic world.

“However, it is important to note that the fact that some work has been delayed longer than would otherwise be desirable is not an abrogation of our regulatory work, but a recognition that some existing activities and new tasks must take precedence over work we would otherwise be doing. Indeed, a number of important enforcement outcomes have been achieved in the past two months, as the courts have continued to hear matters and deliver judgments.”

Interim corporate plan

In addition to providing an updated timetable of ongoing work, the authority also published its Interim Corporate Plan this Thursday, which sets out five priorities of the regulator, to tackle the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

These priorities are:

  • protecting consumers from harm at a time of heightened vulnerability;
  • maintaining financial system resilience and stability;
  • supporting Australian businesses to respond to the effects of COVID-19;
  • continuing to identify, disrupt and take enforcement action against the most harmful conduct, and;
  • continuing to build our organisational capacity in challenging times.
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