Labor flags adjustments to ASIC powers invoice

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The federal government has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the banking sector and current attempts don’t go far enough, Labor says.

Labor’s financial services spokeswoman Clare O’Neil told the lower house on Wednesday that draft laws aiming to strengthen the powers of the corporate regulator cast a narrow net.

The legislation aims to ensure financial products are targeted and sold to the right customers, giving the Australian Securities and Investments Commission powers to intervene if this is breached.

Ms O’Neil said the legislation was under the microscope of a Senate inquiry, flagging amendments to the bill so credit cards and buy-now-pay-later financial services would be under ASIC’s watch.

Afterpay, a leading business within the buy-now-pay-later sector, had asked to be included in the draft laws but were knocked back, the Labor MP said.

“We’ve got a provider of financial services asking to be put within these regulator powers, and the government is saying they’re not interested.”

The draft bill was a “watered down” version of the powers ASIC said it needed, Ms O’Neil added.

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