ASIC has outlined its key initiatives for the coming six months, with a specific focus on the conduct of financial advisers and licensees.
Releasing its latest enforcement report, the regulator said it will be paying particular attention to financial advisers' compliance with the best interests' duty and their obligation to provide appropriate advice to clients.
In line with Report 499 on fees for no service, ASIC will also be taking action on those failing to deliver ongoing advice services to financial advice customers paying for such services.
The watchdog outlined that instances in which licensees claiming to provide only general advice to retail clients while selling financial products but are actually providing personal advice will also be further scrutinised.
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"This report highlights our ongoing commitment to ensuring that Australians can have trust and confidence in the financial system. Where there are practices in our markets and financial services industry that could create harm, ASIC will take enforcement action to protect investors and consumer," ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour said.
Over the course of the six month period to 31 December 2017, ASIC undertook a total of 63 investigations, 61 of which were completed.
These actions resulted in a total of $94.4 million paid in compensation and remediation to investors and consumers; $21.7 million in civil penalties; $1.7 million in infringement notices; and $40.5 million in community benefit fund payments.
Further, more than 230 criminal charges were laid against 17 people.