The ‘sensible’ way to invest in the real economy

Posted June 07, 2018 11:13:38In the lead up to the Federal Election, a panel of experts and industry experts met with senior federal politicians to discuss the future of investment in the economy.

While the topic of remunerations was discussed in depth at the meeting, the panel of key voices was the subject of some confusion.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) was the primary venue for the discussion, but it has not yet released the details of what it discussed, and how it determined that the panel should receive a remunerated consultancy fee.

In a statement released this week, ASIC confirmed the decision to pay a consultancy fee for the panel, and said the fees will go towards assisting the agency in its review of the market.

However, ASIC also did not reveal the fees for the consultants on the panel.

In the statement, ASIC said the panel’s remunerative consultant fee was set at $1.6 million, and included the commission’s remitted costs of $3.4 million, which are split equally between ASIC and the panel members.ASIC’s deputy chair, Andrew Taylor, said that the decision was made because of ASIC’s remit of conducting market research and making recommendations to the government on how to best deliver on the objectives of the National Productivity Strategy.ASI said that in its view, the fee was “the best that can be achieved”.

“It is also a matter of transparency and it is consistent with ASIC’s general practice of working with the public in a transparent manner,” Mr Taylor said.

“This panel is a strong and independent advisory body and, as such, ASIC is prepared to disclose any remunerable fees it may receive for services.”

What ASIC found was that the fees were paid by the consulting firm that the advisory body was providing.

ASIC has not confirmed whether the consultancy fee was paid directly to the panel or by another firm.

“The advice provided to the relevant regulatory bodies in the process of setting the advisory panel’s fees is in accordance with the ASIC remunerant practice guidelines and ASIC’s regulatory obligations,” ASIC said in a statement.”ASIC is confident that the consulting fees will be used to provide services to the advisory group to enable it to carry out its statutory role.”

The Australian Institute of Directors (AIOD) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry have both spoken out in support of the industry, and have called on the Government to consider a more competitive and more flexible approach to remunerating.

“A lot of people are still not getting the message about what is a reasonable remuneratory standard,” AIOD managing director Chris Nevin said.

Mr Nevin has also suggested that the Government could set a higher remunerate threshold, and that ASIC should consider how it could be more competitive in the remunerration market.