Crimes, fees and the relevance of basis points

Outsider was reading a statement from the president of the Law Council, Arthur Moses SC, when he suddenly started thinking about financial advisers and asset-based fees.

Why? You ask. Because Mr Moses was referring to suggestions that social media companies which improperly allow the livestreaming of hate content such as the recent Christchurch mosque massacre should be penalised according to their annual turnover. That’s why!

Moses warned that any penalty imposed by reference to their global annual turnover would be potentially unconstitutional.

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“Irrespective of this, imposing penalties on companies by reference to their annual turnover rather than by reference to a maximum set of penalties is problematic. It will lead to difficulties with sentencing and mean companies will be punished by reference to their size rather than the seriousness of their breach,” he said. “That is bad for certainty and bad for business. Such an approach to penalties, if used as a precedent for other areas of government regulation, could have a chilling effect on businesses investing in Australia or providing their services in this country.”

All of which brought Outsider back to the question of financial advisers and the charging of asset-based fees – a practice where there is consent and no discernible victim. 

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