The corporate regulator recorded a 64% increase in civil proceedings and a 36% increase in the number of commenced criminal proceedings during the second half of 2020.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC’s) latest enforcement update report said the July to December 2020 period saw civil penalties totalling $159.8 million imposed by the courts.
The period saw 14 civil penalty cases commence, 18 civil penalty cases currently before courts, 27 individuals charged in criminal proceedings, 194 criminal charges laid, five custodial sentences (four imprisoned), 22 individuals removed or restricted from provided financial services or credit, 28 individuals disqualified or removed from directing companies, two court enforceable undertakings, 107 investigations commenced, and 211 ongoing investigations.
“This included ASIC’s two largest ever civil penalty outcomes – penalties totalling $57.5 million were imposed on two NAB subsidiaries for fees-for-no-service misconduct, and penalties totalling $75 million were imposed on over the counter derivatives provider AGM Markets Pty Ltd and two of its authorised representatives for systemic unconscionable conduct,” it said.
Enforcement-related Royal Commission work during the period resulted in a total of $77.65 million in imposed penalties from seven investigations.
The report noted that out of the 45 investigations from the Royal Commission only 11 remained on foot as at 31 December, 2020. Another 16 cases required no further action.