By Janet Austin*
Over the last 20 years stock markets worldwide have changed dramatically and the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is no exception. First there was the wave of demutualisations when many stock markets, including the ASX, transformed themselves into public companies. Following these restructures many market operators hived off their surveillance and enforcement functions into organisations independent of the company operating the market. Existing market operators have started to move beyond their geographical boundaries and are becoming global conglomerates. New trading venues continue to appear. In Australia, while there is only one dominant market operator, the ASX, this is likely to change soon. However, despite these fundamental changes to the landscape, ultimately the job of protecting the integrity of the markets and the enforcement of serious market abuse offences still falls primarily on nationally based securities regulators, such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). In fact, ASIC’s grip on the markets has recently increased. From 1 August 2010 ASIC assumed responsibility for the supervision of brokers well as the surveillance of trading on the ASX, existing smaller markets as well as any new trading venues which may emerge. This article considers the impact of these changes and the challenges that will face ASIC in maintaining the integrity of the markets as it attempts to bring them firmly under its control.
The full article can be accessed here: “Government to the rescue: ASIC takes the reins of the stock markets” (2010) 28 C&SLJ 444.
* BCom LLB (UNSW), LLM (Syd), PhD Candidate (Osgoode), Assistant Professor, University of New Brunswick.