AUSTRALIA - The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has defended its handling of the short selling ban in a speech given to the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA).
He said: "We decided to close the market for short selling. We saw this circuit breaker as important in assisting with confidence. We believe we were [correct to do so] and with the benefit of hindsight a significant part of the market thinks so as well [but] our approach has not been without controversy."
The ban on short selling financial stocks was introduced in September and extended in late October to last until 27 January 2009 (www.globalpensions.com; 21 October 2008).
Aloisio said it was still "early days" for the agency, but he was confident the changes brought in would have a positive effect.
Aloisio added: "We have a robust regulatory system in Australia and a new ASIC which is focused on the right domestic issues. And, importantly, an ASIC which has a greater understanding of its markets and their global connections"
He said the agency would use its understanding tot follow the reform agenda and continue to advise the government and treasury in market-related concerns.
"In providing that assistance seek to strike the right balance between efficient markets which will assist recovery and investor protection," Aloisio concluded.
In related news, the Australian government announced a small increase in the basic pension payment of about 370,000 retirees as a result of the downturn.
The payments will be worth between $4 and $100 a fortnight, and would not generally affect those on a full pension.
This week's edition of Professional Pensions is out now.
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