Xuelin Teo, who will be presenting at the upcoming Inaugural Regulatory Enforcement Conference, joined Christopher Sanchez of Legalwise Seminars to discuss the current regulatory climate and what to do when the regulator comes knocking.
1. How would you briefly describe the current regulatory climate? Do regulators seem to be more active in certain areas?
The current regulatory climate in Australia is strongly influenced by two factors: global regulatory trends and pressure from key stakeholders (including consumers, media and the government).
Since the global financial crisis and subsequent fallout in global markets, we have seen international regulators take an increasingly active approach toward investigating and regulating market conduct in the financial services industry. Australia has followed suit. This includes ASIC investigations into the conduct of financial planners and bank behaviour in the setting of a key financial benchmark (the BBSW), coupled with calls for a Royal Commission into the financial services industry. We do not expect this attention to abate in the immediate future.
2. What’s a common mistake you see companies make when a regulatory issue surfaces?
Not having a strategy for dealing with the regulator. Often times it is helpful to have a thorough internal investigation conducted of the suspected impugned conduct, which will assist in developing a strategy for dealing with the regulator, including whether or not to seek an early resolution.
3. What sorts of things should companies consider to avoid regulatory compliance issues before they ever arise?
(a) Actively and continually examine the organisation's culture and how it could improve.
(b) Be prepared to investigate suspected misconduct thoroughly, appreciating the potential reputational and financial risks of acting too slowly or not at all.
(c) Educate staff about regulatory obligations and compliance issues.
4. When a regulator comes knocking, what’s one key consideration a company should keep in mind?
When a regulator comes knocking, a company should consider how it can cooperate with the regulator in a meaningful way, while being aware of its rights and obligations within the relevant statutory regime in which the investigation is being conducted.
To hear directly from Xuelin, join us at the Inaugural Regulatory Enforcement Conference on Wednesday 23 November 2016, at the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto.