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Compliance in a digital world

Technology has permeated every aspect of our lives. Disruption is transforming industries and creating new ones. With innovation comes both opportunity and benefits. One of the most significant benefits of technological change is the ability to take complex and time-consuming tasks and make them simpler and easier to manage.

One area that is ripe for this type of disruption is regulatory compliance. The area of company compliance in a digital world is an exciting place to be right now, and it’s a change that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has stated that it’s now embracing.

ASIC has embraced technological change

There are several ways that ASIC has embraced technology and is encouraging other companies to do the same.

One such change is ASIC’s new Innovation Hub. This has been established to allow ASIC to engage with fintech and regtech startups who are disrupting how people and businesses conduct financial transactions. By speaking directly with innovators through the Innovation Hub, ASIC can help them understand the regulatory framework, how it applies to the technology that they’re developing and what ASIC’s expectations are. At the same time, it allows ASIC to stay abreast of developments in the market.

This process is giving ASIC insights and oversight into how compliance should and will operate in high technology areas like digital financial advice, marketplace lending, equity crowdfunding, blockchain and crypto-asset. ASIC has even gone so far as to introduce a regulatory sandbox, that is the world’s first fintech licensing exemption. This means that that eligible fintechs can be exempt from some elements of regulatory compliance as they prepare to go to market.

While ASIC is encouraging technological change, it’s also clear that some things will not be acceptable. In particular, ASIC has stated that organisations can’t make misleading or deceptive statements about their product. This demonstrates their intention to protect consumers as new technological innovations come into the market.

Regtech is leading the way in innovation

Regtech refers to new technology that helps businesses and consumers meet their regulatory and compliance obligations. This is a hot area for new innovation and has the potential to not only help companies build a culture of compliance, but also to identify new ways they can operate more efficiently and save money.

While ASIC doesn’t regulate regtech directly, it’s keen to support innovation in this space through its Innovation Hub and by meeting with stakeholders in the regtech space. The Innovation Hub offers informal advice to regtech innovators about the regulatory framework and how solutions can operate within that structure.

ASIC is also using new technology to help people resolve regulatory problems. For example, it’s trialling Natural Language Processing and machine learning to enable learning, automation and prediction. ASIC has also received over $6 million from the Australian Government to help it promote the development and use of regtech solutions so that organisations can deliver better regulatory and compliance outcomes. Their objective is to make Australia a global leader in the development and use of regtech.

As the level of regulation becomes more complex, the need for technology that can make it easier for large and small businesses to meet their compliance obligations is increasing. Some companies are even introducing the role of Chief Compliance Officer to deal with the increased responsibility of staying up to date with new regulatory requirements. That’s where technology has an important role to play. Compliance risks will only increase, so the more an organisation can mitigate its risks the better.

Managing your compliance in a digital world

At CCASA, we’re also embracing technology to help you navigate the complexities of corporate compliance and reporting. That’s why we’ve developed our new online reporting portal that streamlines your reporting processes. The system does this by:

  • Letting you see what documents you have to lodge and when
  • Enabling you to authorise lodgements at any day or time, when it’s most convenient for you
  • Showing you information in real time so you know where each of your company’s reporting is at any time
  • Letting you quickly identify which companies we look after for you as your ASIC agent

We’ll also continue to add new functionality to the portal over time to continue to make it easier, more efficient and cost-effective for you to manage your company reporting and compliance.

The technology will benefit anyone who has to manage multiple companies at one time. For example, if you are responsible for the reporting and compliance of 1,200 companies, you may need four employees at a cost of $70,000 per annum each to assist you. In addition, you will need to purchase the necessary computers, hardware and software products. This could cost you almost $15,000 depending on whether you have trusts or self-managed superannuation funds in your structure as well. This would bring the cost of your compliance to almost $300,000, which is considerably more than the cost of leveraging CCASA’s technology at less than $100,000 plus GST per year.

While the cost savings are enticing, our online portal also makes the process of meeting your compliance obligations quicker and more flexible. You’re no longer tied to specific times of the day or paper processes to manage your reporting. You can keep everything on track when it’s convenient for you.

If you’d like to learn more about how CCASA can help you automate your company compliance activities, get in touch.