AFSA Regulatory Strategy 2023-27

On this page

A strong credit system for Australia

AFSA is a visible, modern, and contemporary regulator.

Our holistic approach to regulation improves access to credit and increases financial stability, contributing to economic and social outcomes. We anticipate and respond to our operating environment to safeguard a strong credit system for Australia now and for the future.

Overview

What we do

We ensure confidence in Australia’s personal insolvency and personal property securities (PPS) systems and manage the proceeds of crime through criminal assets management.

We oversee personal insolvency liabilities of $17.7 billion.

We oversee the PPS system estimated at $400 billion of economic value (20% of Australian GDP).

We manage an estimated $500 million criminal asset portfolio.

Strategic alignment

The Regulatory Strategy informs our operational policies and plans, and communicates our regulatory approach.

The Corporate Plan and Regulatory Strategy cover a four-year period, and the Regulatory Action Statement provides an annual outlook.

Regulatory principles

We aim to create an environment that preserves the integrity of the personal insolvency, and personal property securities systems, and criminal assets management. We do more than administer laws; we deliver services, collaborate with stakeholders, solve problems, and influence behaviours to foster positive economic and social outcomes for Australia now and for the future.

AFSA is guided by the three regulator best practice principles outlined by the Department of Finance in Regulator Performance (RMG 128):

  • Continuous improvement and building trust
  • Risk based and data driven
  • Collaboration and engagement

These best practice principles are embedded in AFSA’s contemporary approach to regulation.

People-centric

We put people at the centre of everything we do.

Outcomes focused

We focus on the overall impact that our work has on our clients, industry, the community, the credit system, and the economy.

Harms based

We prioritise areas of greatest potential economic and social harms within the system.

Intelligence informed

We anticipate and respond to changes in the operating environment, and regulate proportionately.

Strengths based

We promote and encourage positive behaviour.

Stakeholders and beneficiaries

Regulated individuals and entities

Who: Those with current or potential regulatory obligations such as debtors, creditors, and practitioners.

Why: We have direct regulatory responsibility for this cohort.

How: We engage with our regulated community to create a strong culture of voluntary compliance, actively respond to, and support our stakeholders, and provide timely and accurate information.

System users

Who: Users of the NPII and PPS registers, those involved in criminal assets management, practitioners, organisations, and consumer support and advocacy groups.

Why: System users rely on us to provide efficient, effective, and fit-for-purpose information and services. Some of these users also support individuals and entities within our regulated community.

How: We consult and work with our system users to deliver better outcomes. We work with policy and program agencies to improve outcomes for system users.

Government

Who: The Federal Government.

Why: Government sets legislative and regulatory requirements, budgets, and national agenda.

How: We provide insights, expertise, and services to government to support the flow of credit, best practice regulation and effective and efficient criminal assets management. We work with policy and program agencies to improve outcomes for the Australian community.

Other regulators

Who: Other economic and social regulators.

Why: These stakeholders have responsibilities for regulating the credit system and/or responsibilities for regulating or providing services to people or entities who engage with the credit system.

How: We collaborate with other regulators as partners and co-regulators so we can focus on identifying and solving problems from a whole-of-system perspective.

Australian community

Who: Those who live, work or operate a business in Australia or have an interest in the Australian economy.

Why: The regulatory system is shaped by community needs and expectations.

How: We monitor community expectations to deliver better regulatory outcomes. We are committed to providing accurate, accessible, and simple information and services to support sound decision making by people in the Australian community.

Regulatory approach

AFSA promotes regulatory stewardship by adopting a whole of system approach to regulation, using data and intelligence to prioritise where we focus our resources, and using a surveillance-based approach to monitor our regulatory systems.

Our regulatory approach has 6 elements which we may use individually or in combination depending on the circumstances or harms we seek to address. We are nuanced and proportionate in our responses, and focus our activities to deliver economic and social outcomes.

This image features a circular diagram which shows AFSA’s six regulatory levers.  At the centre of the diagram is a map illustrating Australia with Economic and Social outcomes as a title in the centre of the image.    Surrounding the map are 6 captions positioned around a central map.  The captions are positioned clockwise around the map like a clock face:
Engage and influence — We build strong relationships with our regulated community, industry, and government.
Educate and encourage  We provide modern regulatory services which make it easy to understand and comply with regulatory obligations. 
Monitor and detect  We anticipate and detect non-compliance and respond swiftly and proportionately.
Reward and incentivise  We reward and incentivise those who drive and enable positive economic and social outcomes.
Deter and correct  We deter and correct by being visible in our regulatory actions and communicating successful economic and social outcomes.
Enforce and protect  We take a contemporary approach to compliance and enforcement by using a range of necessary options to enforce and protect.

Regulatory priorities

Enduring regulatory priorities within our systems

System vulnerability

We support individuals at risk of, or experiencing, vulnerability or disadvantage.

  • We are committed to supporting those that are at risk of harm through not being aware of their options. We use intelligence to tailor and target information to at risk users, informing of options and where to access support.
  • We ensure our practices protect information that may place people at risk of harm.
  • We are committed to supporting Australia’s First Nations people. We will always prioritise its work to support First Nations people through collaboration with the community and their support networks.

System efficiency

Most people who enter our systems simply need access to effective systems and processes to get good outcomes.

  • We invest in business enablers that increase our internal efficiency and identify opportunities to upskill our staff.
  • We apply people-centred design to develop digital solutions that reduce administrative burden.
  • We provide practical guidance that provides law administration guidance, addressing the practical implications of compliance and outlining our administrative processes.

System misuse

We drive willing compliance and engagement, and address intentional misuse using innovative and collaborative regulatory practices.

  • We use intelligence to proactively monitor and identify misuse.
  • We use a suite of regulatory tools to take strong action.
  • We deter via action, reporting on those that misuse the system.
  • We work closely with government to progress urgent reforms, including changes to target untrustworthy advisers and expanding our enforcement options.

Regulatory Action Statement

The Regulatory Action Statement (formerly known as the Compliance Program) forecasts our key anticipated harms for each year and includes our priorities and actions for addressing harms against our systems.

Outputs for 2023-27

Moving toward a preferred way of working

Shift

From interpretive guidance to practical guidance

  • Provide law administration guidance to inform stakeholders how to comply and address the practical implications of non-compliance. This will enable industry to mitigate low level risks, allowing us to focus on more complex or serious matters.

From supervision to intelligence-informed surveillance

  • Expand our intelligence capabilities to mature an outcomes-focused, whole-of-system approach to monitoring and supervisory activities.
  • Become an organisation that navigates and adapts to emerging harms, challenges assumptions, and embeds robust and agile decision making .
  • Ensure our people have the right mindsets, skillsets, and toolsets.

Balance

Considered use of hard and soft regulatory tools

  • Develop an agile application of regulatory tools considering context, behaviours, and risk of harm.
  • Consider other potential hard and soft regulatory tools, including digital tools, nudges, behavioural insights, deliberate interventions etc.

Pre-emptive and reactive response to misuse

  • Anticipate problems through horizon scanning and use this to enable a greater focus on prevention and disruption, in addition to existing reactive responses.
  • Develop and implement new technological capabilities, such as predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Outlook

AFSA demonstrates a stewardship approach to regulation that anticipates and responds to change.

We will endeavour to provide practical guidance to our clients, deliver an active surveillance program focused on ongoing and emerging harms, use regulatory tools in a nuanced way in response to our operating environment, and aim to anticipate and prevent misuse. If misuse does occur, we will act swiftly and decisively to address it through a firm and fair response.