Spotlight on the ACCC: Are there lessons ASIC and APRA could learn?

Published On 24/12/2019 | By Rebecca Mahony | Enforcement, Reform

King & Wood Mallesons recently published On-Board – Directions 2019 (available here), reporting on the key themes and results of our corporate governance survey of directors and senior executives conducted in November 2019.

The survey revealed that corporate Australia continues to search for its new formula for trust, the pursuit of which has been complicated by a wave of more activist regulatory intervention and enforcement actions, dramatic media headlines and pointed political commentary – generally focused on mistrust.

As part of the report, the Competition team put a spotlight on the ACCC, asking: are there lessons ASIC and APRA could learn from the ACCC?  

We consider this in the context of intense public criticism of ASIC and APRA, particularly around their enforcement activities.  Meanwhile, the ACCC appears to go from strength to strength, being described as the “can-do” regulator by the media.

We identify four reasons why we think there are limitations on the extent to which ASIC and APRA could (or should) emulate the ACCC’s approach:

  • The different functions of each regulator. Enforcement strategies that are appropriate for the ACCC are not likely to be as appropriate for the ASIC and APRA.
  • The ACCC’s naturally stronger media presence and ability to more easily articulate its mandate.
  • Recent harsh criticism of ASIC and APRA over their attempts to bring legal actions against high-profile targets.
  • Some of the recent praise of the ACCC may be premature, considering that some of their key matters are ongoing.

The full article, written by Sharon Henrick, Christopher Kok and Rebecca Mahony, is available here.

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About The Author

is a solicitor in the Competition team in the Sydney office of King & Wood Mallesons

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