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New chairman appointed at ASIC

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Joseph Longo has been appointed Chairman at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) while Sarah Court takes the role of Deputy Chair.

Mr Longo replaces outgoing chairman James Shipton, who took the role in 2018, while Ms Court replaces Daniel Crennan. The new appointments are for a five-year period.

“They are both highly qualified and experienced individuals with a deep understanding of both the private and public sectors. ASIC will benefit from their understanding of regulatory settings, insight into business and their strong leadership,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

Mr Longo is a senior adviser at Herbert Smith Freehills and prior to that worked as general counsel for Deutsche Bank in London and Hong Kong and was the national director of enforcement at ASIC.

Ms Court, also a lawyer, comes from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) where she has been a commissioner since 2008 and currently chairs the enforcement, compliance, consumer data right and legal committees and is a member of the merger review and competition exemptions committees.

“This is a well-deserved reflection of the experience, expertise, and wisdom Sarah brings to the table,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. “ASIC’s gain is very much our loss. In her 13 years at the ACCC, Sarah has made an incredibly significant contribution to the agency and its work.”

The appointments come as the Federal Government issues ASIC a new Statement of Expectations outlining its priorities and introduces legislation to establish the Financial Regulator Assessment Authority (FRAA).

The new statement makes clear that ASIC is expected to “operate as a strategic board” and that all operational matters are the responsibility of the chair, who is the accountable authority, and that the Government expects ASIC to support Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID pandemic.

The FRAA will provide an external framework for assessing the effectiveness and capability of both ASIC and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. It will consist of three independent statutory appointees together with the Treasury Secretary.

Reviews will be conducted once every two years and as directed by the Treasurer.

Legislation to implement the FRAA will be introduced by the middle of this year following a recommendation of the financial services royal commission.