ASIC’s role as regulator under question

The Institute of Public Accountants has queried whether the role of ASIC is that of effective regulator and enforcer, or that of revenue raiser for the government.

The IPA pointed to ASIC’s 2016-17 annual report, noting that the corporate regulator raised $920.24 million for the federal government in fees and charges, a 5 per cent rise from the previous year.

However, it also received around $349 million in appropriation revenue against $392.46 million in expenses, leaving a deficit of $43.5 million.

IPA chief executive Andrew Conway said this indicates that ASIC is doing a much better job of raising revenue for the government than what it is doing in terms of enforcement.

“In other words, even though ASIC is making significant income for government, it is not even able to cover its own costs from the budget it receives from government,” Mr Conway said.

“This also means that ASIC is raising substantially more revenue than its operational costs, which appears to go against the government’s own Charging Framework.

“If the aim of the game is revenue, it may explain why ASIC sought a proposed one-off fee increase … for new auditors of SMSFs, which we argued was exorbitant.”

Last month, the IPA questioned ASIC’s proposed fee hike for SMSF auditors, who now face a one-off $1,927 registration fee.

While that is down from the $3,429 initially proposed by the corporate regulator, it is still a considerable jump from the current $107 fee.

Mr Conway thinks the proposed fee is still far too high and will only deter new entrants into the SMSF auditor market. In addition, not only is ASIC overcharging, the government “is double-dipping”.

“The ATO currently already collects $259 from each SMSF to finance the SMSF monitoring role the ATO conducts on behalf of ASIC. Whilst this levy was a mere $45 in 2008 it now equates to approximately $142.5 million to monitor the sector including SMSF auditors,” Mr Conway said.

“We have a much bigger concern if a new funding model is only focused on government revenue without equipping the corporate regulator to do its job adequately.”

3 thoughts on “ASIC’s role as regulator under question

  • May 4, 2018 at 2:53 pm
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    Agree fees are exorbitant
    Especially when’ a lot of auditors are retiring
    This will create a shortage of auditors
    Audit fees will only go up

  • May 4, 2018 at 3:12 pm
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    How true are these statements and how overdue from a professional body. The statements must come from IPA, CA or NTAA because they most certainly will not come from CPA where I suggest there are more members employed in the Government sector than there are professionals in pubic practice. It is time that those bodies which truly represent the practitioners made it known publicly that the CPA advertisements re practitioners represent less than 12% of their member base. CPA has become a voice of various regulators; the Government sector (in particular, Universities) and the non practicing private sector.

    Comments by the ATO Commissioner concerning public practitioners and excessive claims for expenses in personal tax returns show total disdain for the sector that provides the greater majority of food for his table. If there are problem practitioners, the regulator should act on those practitioners and refrain from making public statements that serve little for recognition for the greater majority and even less for a harmonious relationship.

    ASIC and ATO fees now border on “gouging” in a field where there is Zero competition.

    ATO relationship with external collection agencies requires close examination. Two years ago, Colin Walker advised me that they were taking up a suggestion from me that they would be noting Agents who were prepared to manage their clients where debt management proved necessary. We are still waiting. Agents are free collection agents for the ATO yet are often forced to deal with external collection agencies in order to earn the latter a commission!
    Professional bodies – it is time to step up !!!

  • September 27, 2018 at 3:18 pm
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    Well written Graham Sackley!
    This is nothing but a revenue grab and extortion on providers of over regulated services to private citizens and organisations already struggling to meet and contain expenditures. There is no competitor or competition, a monopoly arranged by Government or instrumentality of, it is a cartel accountable to?
    All to reminiscent of 456AD when the citizens could no longer afford to pay Rome’s taxes and instead would hand over personal property and belongings, and later land titles and 75% of production from the land in exchange for occupation and 25% retention of production for self sustenance.
    Across all three layers of government and all related instrumentality’s it has become common practice to rort by extortion of costs, fees, taxes and charges imposed.
    No government in the last two decades has contained its expenditures, instead just apply an increase or create a new charge. When gst was introduced all indirect taxes were to go, ha! ha! That is why we still stamp duty, land tax and asic annual return fees just to name a few. Wake up, take charge and responsibility before you become a citizen just like in Greece or Venezuela. The ratio of people required is 3 in 20 to bring about change, accountability with fairness in costs, charges, fees and like imposts imposed on citizens.

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