This could be the Abbott government’s next privatisation.
According to The Australian, a sale of the corporate regulator’s company register is being considered.
Selling ASIC’s register, along with a small annual fee, could net the government around $1 billion.
The speculation is fueled by comments made by the regulator’s chairman Greg Medcraft before a Senate estimates committee.
Medcraft said the register — which provides a comprehensive and easily searchable list of Australian companies and their directors — was not a core part of ASIC’s mission. He explained it was basically a technology business.
He also told the estimates hearing the information could be merged with other government databases (as has happened overseas) to provide “economies of scale”.
“So I think there are huge benefits in actually separating out that registry business and merging it with other government registries to leverage the economies of scale from the Siebel management system [a data management platform],” Medcraft said.
“Basically it has enormous capacity.
“What that also means from a consumer perspective is that you end up with a one-stop shop for financial services and even other registry things you go to. If you want to update, you want to go to one place etc.
“And you have to think about the massive opportunity for extracting revenue from the metadata that actually comes from that.”
The government has already announced plans to privatise Medibank Private through a $4 billion float, and the Commission of Audit is expected to identify further targets.
There’s more here.