14 February 2019

The Hayne Royal Commission’s recommendation to create a new independent ‘super regulatory’ body to oversee ASIC and APRA to drive accountabilities of the two regulatory bodies may have some merit but some fundamentals have to be addressed, says the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

“The IPA has long advocated for the need to appropriately fund and resource the regulators to enable them to do their job,” said IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway.

“While on face value, having a regulatory body regulating the regulators may appear a regulatory overkill, if it achieves the desired accountability outcomes, it may have merit.

“One may question if something is broken, why not fix it before funding yet another layer of regulation.

“Regardless, what we do not want to see, is further regulatory burden being filtered down on the shoulders of small business operators.

“Our Small Business White Paper points to the need to look at regulator culture and adjust behaviours that do not inflict unnecessary burden on SMEs.

“In particular, research shows that an increasing number of small businesses continue to be concerned with the impact of laws and regulations on their ability to run their businesses and innovate.

“We also do not want to see the targeting of small targets due to additional pressure placed on ASIC to enforce, while there are more complex and yet, bigger fish to fry.

“The Royal Commission findings point to many cases where prosecution should have applied and all must be done to support those that have been aggrieved through the unscrupulous behaviour of the banking, mortgage brokerage and insurance industries.

“Up until recent times, ASIC have had the regulatory teeth on paper but not the resources and funding to actually bite so they should be given the good grace to prove themselves,” said Mr Conway.