ASIC flags small business as high priority
The corporate regulator has placed small business high on its priority list over the financial year ahead.
Last month, ASIC released its Corporate Plan 2018-2022, highlighting the implementation of new supervisory approaches as one of its strategic priorities until 2022, as well as addressing poor culture and professionalism in financial services and credit.
In relation to small business, ASIC said it will continue to review lenders’ compliance with small business protections in unfair contract terms legislation and offer broader support to small business by providing information, tools and resources.
Further, it would also be focusing on compliance by small business, in particular, illegal phoenix behaviour, non-compliance with financial reporting obligations and director misconduct.
Since releasing its Small Business Strategy 2017-2020 last year, ASIC noted its progress during 2017-18, including:
- Registering more than 366,000 new business names and 244,000 new companies;
- Conducting over 122 million searches of ASIC’s registers;
- Responding to over 692,000 enquiries through its various communication channels;
- The small business hub on its website being viewed over 66,000 times; and
- Successfully prosecuting 382 entities/individuals for 734 offences relating to failure to keep books and records, which is often an indicator of illegal phoenix activity.
ASIC said it will also focus on poor culture and professionalism in financial services and credit, particularly in the provision of consumer credit and financial advice, the fair treatment of small business, and the use of consumer data by firms (including data governance).
“As Australia’s regulator for companies, financial markets and providers of financial services and consumer credit, ASIC works to help small business succeed as a key driver of the Australian economy,” said ASIC commissioner John Price.
“Small businesses employ half of Australia’s workforce and make up one-fifth of Australia’s gross domestic product so it’s vital that ASIC helps create an environment that develops the small business sector.”