1. Introduction

The focus of this inquiry is financial services regulation. The Terms of Reference (ToR) set out three sub-topics, each of which is to be the subject of a separate Interim Report:

  • the use of definitions;
  • regulatory design and hierarchy of laws; and
  • the framing or structuring of Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Each Interim Report, along with the Final Report, must be tabled by the Attorney-General in Parliament (within 15 sitting days), in accordance with the ALRC’s governing statute. Each Interim Report will contain specific options for reform, on which stakeholders and the public will be invited to make submissions.

In preparing the Final Report, the ALRC will take into account stakeholder feedback received on the options set out in the Interim Reports in developing a final set of specific recommendations for reform.

The ToR emphasise the importance of ‘simplifying’ the law ‘within the context of existing policy settings’. The ALRC understands that the government’s intention is that the inquiry be primarily a technical exercise focused on legislative design, rather than an interrogation of the fundamental policy settings underpinning the existing regulatory framework. Nevertheless, it is likely that any amendments to legislation, including technical amendments relating to structure, design and framing, will have policy implications.

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