ASIC to receive $61.1m boost to data analytics capabilities

Government responds to capability review of corporate regulator

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will receive $61.1 million to improve its surveillance and data analytics capabilities as part of government moves to strengthen the financial watchdog.

Treasurer Scott Morrison and assistant treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer announced the measure as part of a response to a review of ASIC’s capabilities commissioned last year by the government.

The government said its package to strengthen ASIC would be worth $127.2 million. The government previously slashed $120 million of ASIC’s funding.

The package, funded through a bank levy, also includes $57 million for ongoing surveillance and enforcement activities by ASIC.

The capability review, Fit for the Future, was made public by the government today.

“ASIC has identified a number of weaknesses in the existing data infrastructure, including fragmented databases, a reliance on legacy applications, and challenges in search functionality,” the review states.

ASIC is conducting a major IT transformation program, dubbed FAST 2, to address issues involving workflow applications and business processes, the review said.

However, the review panel indicated it had some concerns “as to whether or not these projects have been ‘future proofed’ and the extent to which the program will ‘still leave ASIC with additional investment required’.”

“Additionally, the programs may not go far enough to address the full scope of infrastructure weaknesses, particularly around the sophistication of MIS (efficiency reporting and management dashboards) and performance measurement capabilities,” the review states.

The review panel also said there was potential for increased sharing of data and analytics with other regulators.

The new funding for ASIC will “enable further surveillance and enforcement in areas such as financial planning, responsible lending, life insurance, and misconduct and breach reporting,” ASIC chairperson Greg Medcraft said.

“It will also allow us to build our technological capacity to identify and assess risks and misconduct.”

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @rohan_p

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