ISLAMABAD, June 15: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) have singed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for establishing a framework for mutual assistance and exchange of information.

According to an official announcement issued here on Wednesday, the MoU was signed on Wednesday morning in Canberra, Australia during President Pervez Musharraf’s visit.

ASIC Chairman Jeffrey Lucy and Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Australia Babar Wahid Malik signed the MoU. Mr Malik signed the agreement because Dr Tariq Hassan was unable to travel.

Recognizing the increasing international activity in the financial markets, and the corresponding need for cooperation between the relevant national authorities, ASIC and the SECP have formalized a framework that will facilitate the exchange of information.

The MoU has been developed to ensure compliance with the respective securities and futures laws or regulatory requirements of Australia and Pakistan.

Speaking on behalf of the SECP chairman, Mr Babar welcomed the signing of the MoU and said it would help in cementing ties between the two regulators and prove beneficial in sharing of corporate information.

While welcoming the MoU, Mr Lucy said: “The MoU will improve the arrangement for providing assistance, obtaining information and the use of information by the securities regulators of our countries”.

Cross-border financial services transactions between Australia and Pakistan are significant and growing given our improving trade relationship, and increasing globalization. The signing of the MoU is one of a number of agreements signed by the two countries this week, which illustrate Australia’s strong relationship with Pakistan, the statement observed.

Information exchanged between ASIC and the SECP may be used in civil investigations and proceedings. This information can also be used to assist other law enforcement or regulatory bodies, such as the stock exchanges, to enforce laws relating to insider dealings, market manipulation and other fraudulent practices.

This information can be used for supervising and monitoring stock markets, as well as ensuring that registered persons are considered fit and proper.