According to a story on page 51 of yesterday’s Financial Review, the ASX has decided to separate its investigation and enforcement operations for listed companies and brokers and set up a “discrete enforcement team” to handle all referrals to the corporate regulator and the exchange’s disciplinary tribunal.

You would have thought that was quite a significant story for the market – one worthy of an announcement from the ASX and worthy of sticking on page one, considering that thousands of company directors, CEOs and their companies would be vitally interested in this move, not to mention all the brokers and investment banks.

The ASX’s move follows the release of a report from ASIC last week, the third such annual report, examining the ASX’s performance as a market regulator and supervisor.

The ASX was upbeat in its reaction to the release on 19 July, but the reality was that while ASIC had found the exchange had lifted its performance there were still problems, especially between the state offices of the ASX and in record keeping in those offices.

The ASX’s reaction confirmed the unease in the market about it having the judge and jury role. It was also confirmation that the stated objective of dumping all regulation with ASIC was no longer an option and that the exchange and its newish CEO, Tony D’Aloisio, would have to accept that reality.

Peter Fray

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