“ Some investors and consumers confirmed that when they wanted to read disclosure documents to gain the information they contained, they often found the task too difficult.”
“I tend to read it but don’t always understand it.” (Investor/consumer)
Some consumers were also sceptical about reliance on and the adequacy of disclosure.
“They have a vested interest in promoting their products perhaps to the detriment of their client’s best interests.” (Investor/consumer)
However, ASIC’s survey also investigated the financial services industry’s overall attitude towards the regulator itself and found that, overall, stakeholders were positive about ASIC’s performance, with four exceptions, including not:
Acting quickly to investigate breaches of the law
Clearly communicating what ASIC is doing
Rducing the red tape associated with compliance, and
Being sufficiently resourced to do our job.
ASIC responded by saying it’s ‘committed’ to cutting red tape and that there are more improvements in the pipeline, including considering whether class orders are still necessary and continuing to help business by easing compliance with regulatory requirements - or advising the government to scrap regulation with no clear purpose.
“For example, we are considering whether disclosure is the best way to address certain market failures and whether new information channels are more effective.”
The survey was conducted in three stages between February and June 2013. The primary quantitative stage (a questionnaire) yielded a total sample of 1468 stakeholders.