ASIC staff to investigate institutions from the inside

The corporate regulator will be gifted enhanced enforcement powers via funding from the Federal Government, a sizeable chunk of which will be used to embed staff within the big four banks and AMP.

The Federal Government announced it is injecting a further $70.1 million into ASIC to ensure it is well resourced to combat misconduct in the financial services industry.

The funding will support the implementation of six key measures, including $8 million for a new supervisory program in which ASIC staff will be embedded within Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, NAB, Westpac and AMP to monitor governance and compliance.

Additionally, a taskforce dedicated to conducting a broad review into corporate governance will be established at a cost of $6.8 million. The taskforce will work to identify and pursue failings in large listed companies, including the deployment of staff on-site.

A further $9.4 million will be used to boost supervision of the superannuation sector to improve transparency and member outcomes by way of enhanced audit and enforcement action measures.

About $26 million will be dedicated to accelerating and increasing ASIC's enforcement activities and enhancing capacity to pursue actions for serious misconduct against well-funded litigants.

An additional $6.6 million will be set aside to implement the Government's reforms to whistleblower protection laws, and $6 million will be used to promote Australia as a world leader in the development and adoption of regulatory technology solutions, also known as regtech.

The balance will be directed towards improving consumer access to the ASIC's Financial Adviser Register and ensuring compliance by licensees and advisers with the Future of Financial Advice laws.

In a joint statement, Treasurer Scott Morrison and Minister for Financial Services and Revenue Kelly O'Dwyer said: "The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring ASIC is equipped with the resources and powers it needs to effectively detect, deter and punish those who do the wrong thing, to improve community confidence and outcomes for consumers and investors in the financial services and corporate sectors."

Read more: ASICAMPFederal GovernmentANZCommonwealth BankKelly O'DwyerNABScott MorrisonWestpac
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