ASIC today published its Indigenous Financial Services Framework (Framework). The Framework is part of ASIC’s role in supporting positive financial outcomes for First Nations people.
A corner stone of ASIC developing its Framework was through extensive and thorough consultations with First Nations peoples, financial services industry representatives, as well as fellow Government Departments, Agencies, and Regulators. These consultations were held with a range of sectors with national coverage, across broad geographic regions. At each stage the voices of First Nations people were prioritised and elevated.
Through this consultation, ASIC identified four key learnings:
First Nations peoples had unique, established economies before colonisation that continued today and should be understood, respected, and maintained;
First Nations peoples have been prohibited and excluded from participating in the Australian financial system;
Financial wellbeing affects all aspects of First Nations peoples’ lives; and
First Nations peoples have many different versions of financial success that need to be accepted and empowered.
The Framework highlights how ASIC will use these learnings to inform its work with First Nations consumers. It supports this intent by setting out several long-term outcomes which will require ongoing collaboration and engagement between ASIC and its stakeholders. These outcomes include, but are not limited to:
reducing the impact of harms and misconduct on individuals and communities;
providing accessible and appropriate financial products and services;
increasing holistic service provision and delivery; and
establishing positive and culturally appropriate experiences when engaging with the financial services industry and other service providers.
ASIC recognises the importance of ongoing, regular engagement with First Nations people. It is establishing timely and structured engagement streams to maintain and build on our learnings. These will be used to influence ASIC’s stakeholders on key themes, emerging issues and challenges highlighted by First Nations consumers. The engagement streams include an Indigenous Advisory Group, a Cross-Government Engagement Group, and ongoing contact with the financial services industry.
Further to the Framework, ASIC’s Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan 2023-2026 (RAP) includes the pursuit and promotion of regulatory outcomes where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers or investors have been adversely impacted by harm and misconduct. Through both the Framework and the RAP, ASIC is outlining its priorities for supporting positive financial outcomes for First Nations consumers, and communicating expectations to industry participants on best practice engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers and investors.