Why not regulate

Well, well, well.

The architect of ASIC’s doctrine of “why not litigate”, Daniel Crennan QC resigned today over a small matter of:

$69,621 in housing costs on behalf of Mr Crennan equal to $750 weekly rent in 2018 and 2019.

Nice work if you can get it.

But why does ASIC exist?   What is its purpose?

According to ASIC, they are:

Australia’s integrated corporate, markets, financial services and consumer credit regulator.

Sounds fancy.

And ASIC’s vision:

a fair, strong and efficient financial system for all Australians.


Well, perhaps coinciding the ASIC Chairman Shipton standing aside last week, ASIC released their FY20 annual report.  And what did ASIC achieve for the $490 million it spent:

More than 2,100 meetings.  And 59 reports and papers published.  Exciting.

Not only an accounting of but a celebration of having meetings.  Cartier watches for everyone.

Another performance measure you ask.  How about website visits:

Lots of website visits.  Very exciting.  Maybe ASIC should set up a social media business.

Not bad for an organisation that spend $275 million in employee expenses on 1,940 full time equivalent employees.  Or an average cost of 2 Crennan rental subsidies per annum ($141K).

But this is the essence of the problem.  Measuring activity and not results, the standard performance metric of government.

Perhaps Australian investors would be better of if ASIC commissioner meetings spent more time asking not why not litigate but rather why not regulate.

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14 Responses to Why not regulate

  1. Econocrat

    Fun Fact: ASIC is a profit centre for the Government that collects more in revenue than it costs to run.

  2. Herodotus

    Can’t make an omelette without 2100 metings.

  3. Suburban Boy

    Econocrat: quite so.

    In the decade to June 2018, revenue collected by ASIC exceeded appropriations made to ASIC by $4.2 billion: pure profit to the Commonwealth government.

  4. bespoke

    The sarcasm alone deserves 👍

  5. Professor Freed Lenin

    Theres nothing like a new bit of regulation to get the aparatchiks happy .

  6. jupes

    Measuring activity and not results, the standard performance metric of government.

    Excellent post TAFKAS.

    Related story. I had a conversation with my state member a bit over a year ago about getting rid of deros in Perth. Never fear he said, he had a plan.

    One year later, nothing had changed. I contacted his office but as he was on leave, I had an email exchange with his COS. She sent me a 50 page brochure of the “plan”. Me: Sure but nothing has changed on the ground. COS: Well we have spent $39 mil on the problem so far. Me: That makes it worse. You have spent $39 mil of taxpayer funds and NOTHING HAS CHANGED! COS: I’ll inform the member of your complaint. State member: …………….

  7. Roger

    2100 + meetings & they still made a profit for the shareholder/taxpayer?

    That’s quite something!

    Can we monetise more federal agencies according to the same model?

  8. H B Bear

    2100 + meetings & they still made a profit for the shareholder/taxpayer?

    Probably not a surprise to anybody who has had to file a company doc. Pretty well organised shakedown racket. Not much choice if you want to enjoy that corporate veil.

    Were his fellow directors or the relevant Minister exercising any control on this guy at all? Doesn’t look like it. The Board presumably (with an alternate Chair) must have seen all this.

  9. H B Bear

    ASIC Annual Report doesn’t give much detail beyond formal qualifications and date of appointment of the directors/Commissioners. A QC as deputy chair. Mainly LLBs around the table, as you would expect.

  10. Texas Jack

    And it’s all growing bigger under the watchful eye of the party that apparently believes in limited government. What a joke they are.

  11. Pyrmonter

    What would amount to performance? I have my own ideas – more prosecutions, more routine enforcement – but expect that were that to happen, the inevitable losses on disputed facts would be cited as evidence by many here of the ‘dead hand of regulation’. To my mind, the dishonesty of pretending to have commercial laws that aren’t enforced is worse than either having them and enforcing, or having nothing (perhaps falling back on common law and state law concepts of fraud), but I wonder what others think.

  12. covid ate my homework

    Let’s not forget ASIC’s wilful obsequiousness post GFC in response to complaints of CBA’s investment arm ripping off elderly investors, an absolute disgrace and clearly criminal.

    STAKEHOLDERS… yeah but that’s not me or you.

  13. Hodor

    When I worked(sarc), at the ATO, ASIC was regarded as a flimsy paper tiger.

    Hmph, all those performance bonuses weren’t about improvements in 20 years then.

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