ASIC accelerates enforcement

In ASIC's latest enforcement update, the regulator has made clear it is accelerating enforcement action now that the Office of Enforcement is open for business.

From January to June 2019, 10 individuals were charged in criminal proceedings brought by ASIC, 70 criminal charges were laid, six people were imprisoned and six received non-custodial sentences.

About 103 people were banned from providing financial services and 29 disqualified from being directors of companies.

In the same period last year, just 68 people were banned from providing financial services or credit.

ASIC has commenced 77 investigations in the period, with 48 complete. That's up slightly from 67 investigations in the same period last year.

ASIC deputy chair Daniel Crennan said: "We are working to strengthen ASIC's enforcement effectiveness by accelerating court-based enforcement matters."

He explained that between July 2018 and June 2019 ASIC increased enforcement investigations by 20%.

Investigations involving the big six and their subsidiaries (the big banks, AMP and Macquarie) were up by 51%.

Wealth management investigations increased by a remarkable 216%.

"ASIC's enforcement work has a core focus on deterrence, public denunciation and punishment," Crennan said.

"We continue to pursue this work via our 'Why not litigate?' enforcement approach."

ASIC is recruiting analysts, investigators and lawyers to bolster its capacity to investigate and litigate against misconduct in the market, corporate and financial sectors.

The expansion of the regulator is being funded by $404 million over four years allocated by the Government following the Royal Commission.

The Office of Enforcement is working on 13 matters referred to ASIC by the Royal Commission as well as further matters that were case studies during the Royal Commission hearings.

"As I have said publicly over the past year, ASIC has a clear resolve. The Office of Enforcement is ready to deliver on the public's expectation to hold wrongdoers to account," Crennan added.

Read more: ASICOffice of EnforcementRoyal CommissionDaniel Crennan
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