ASIC dismisses Royal Commission insider trading reports

ASIC has told parliament there was no insider trading around the release of the Royal Commission's final report.

This comes after the Labor party suggested insider trading was responsible for bank stocks rising immediately on the back of Kenneth Hayne's report.

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson asked if ASIC was investigating "whether there was any irregular trading on 4 February 2019".

ASIC responded to the question in a written statement saying it conducted a review of trading in the banking sector on the date in question.

ASIC said: "ASIC reviewed trading in the ordinary shares of banking sector, listed derivatives, unlisted (OTC) derivatives and short selling activity."

"The trading review did not reveal evidence or indications of information leakage or insider trading."

On the day in question, in the lead up to the report, the banks' share prices went up slightly. Westpac was up 1.8% on a day when the market climbed 0.5%.

The Hayne report was tabled in parliament on February 4 after close of trading.

The following day, the banks' share prices were up significantly. Westpac jumped 7% on a day when the total share market index was only up 2%.

ASIC's finding is in response to suggestions from the Labor party that the increase in banking share prices was suspicious.

Labor finance spokesperson Jim Chalmers said on ABC Radio National Breakfast on 7 February: "Something very fishy happened at 11 o'clock on Monday morning. We need to get to the bottom of it."

"On behalf of the Australian people, we need to know that there hasn't been some kind of insider stitch up here. Hundreds of millions of dollars plunged into the market, into bank shares, at 11 o'clock in the morning."

Read more: ASICLaborRoyal CommissionWestpacKenneth HayneABC Radio National BreakfastJim ChalmersMondaySenator Peter Whish-Wilson
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