“A company’s culture often shapes its approach to corporate governance and its response to its regulatory obligations, and it drives conduct within the firm,” argued John Price, Commissioner of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), in a speech this week. “And that can be either good or bad conduct. This is why culture matters to ASIC.”
ASIC has made improving governance and accountability at the firms it supervises a key strategic priority. In this direction, the regulator has formed a corporate governance taskforce to conduct targeted reviews of the practices of the firms it oversees. “We have an important role in promoting an ethical culture in business and an ethical approach to business decision-making,” Price said, outlining several measures that ASIC will undertake in order to help drive bank culture reform:
- Reviewing and reporting on industry practices and approaches to corporate governance;
- Identifying and addressing significant harm to consumers, investors and markets;
- Accelerating enforcement outcomes where there is a need for general or specific deterrence for poor conduct;
- Implementing new approaches to supervise regulated entities; and
- Promoting the adoption of regulatory technology (“RegTech”) by business.
“At the heart of the work of the corporate governance taskforce is a desire to build understanding and improve current corporate governance practices that can support changes towards a more ethical culture in business decision-making and so enhance trust in our financial system,” Price concluded.