Australia's capital markets regulator has vowed to expand its use of new technology and behavioural data as part of a strategic plan to strengthen its enforcement.
The new four year corporate plan for the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (Asic) is expected to cost $270 million. It also comes at a time when Australia's banking sector has come under intense scrutiny. A Royal Commission into misconduct in the financial services industry issued its findings earlier this year and Asic has promised to "directly address its findings" and "act upon its recommendations".
"The public expects financial firms to treat Australians fairly and live up to the expectations of the community and the law," said Asic's chair, James Shipton. "The public expects ASIC to see that they do. If the firms or individuals we regulate do not, we have the will, the resources and the regulatory tools to hold them to account."
Asic's bid to bolster its capabilities will include an expansion of the use of behavioural sciences, data and technology; positioning ASIC as a strategic and agile regulator; developing new regulatory tools and tougher penalties and scaling up Asic's operational resources "to acheive these outcomes".
In addition to the misconduct unovered by the Commission, Australia's banks have also suffered a series of outages while online payment fraud has risen and a number of corporate data breaches have hit the headlines.
The Asic plan refers regularly to new technology in an acknowledgement that greater investment in automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning will be vital if the regulator is to be able to back up its talk of stricter oversight and more agressive enforcement. “This technology has significant potential to help organisations build a culture of compliance and save time and money relating to compliance activities,” said Asic.