The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has again demanded access to metadata to track down insider traders and white-collar criminals.

ASIC wants to be covered by the Federal Government’s controversial data retention scheme.

ASIC argues in its submission to the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security, that it needs financial services sector metadata to maintain the integrity of Australia’s financial markets.

If not, ASIC warned, people would continue to lose their houses and life savings through poor investments and dodgy planners.

In its current form, the new data retention legislation introduced to parliament in November allows access to telecommunications data for “criminal-law-enforcement agencies” — an broad term which excludes ASIC.

ASIC says it should not be left out, as it is also the only agency with specific statutory responsibility for investigating and prosecuting criminal offences in the Corporations Act.

But the regulator has been criticised for the lack of criminal prosecutions flowing from the global financial crisis, which damaged scores of small investors.

“Investigations and prosecutions for Corporations Act off­ences are notoriously difficult, resource-intensive and time-consuming. Effective performance of ASIC’s law enforcement functions can only be achieved if we have adequate powers to obtain information and evidence about suspected contraventions of the laws we administer,” ASIC said.

“Given the increasing role of telecommunications in the delivery of financial services in Australia, including carrying out trades on Australia’s markets, ASIC anticipates its need to obtain telecommunications data and stored communications will correspondingly increase over time.”