The prospect of jail time for miscreant financial services executives has been raised by the Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, in the wake of Royal Commission revelations with respect to AMP Limited.
Facing questioning from reporters, Morrison also claimed that the revelations had validated the Government’s decision to expand the Royal Commission beyond the narrow brief he said had been envisaged by the Australian Labor Party Federal Opposition.
In doing so, Morrison made it clear that he had been in contact with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) which less than an hour later issued a statement consistent with his own views on AMP.
“I can advise that ASIC has been investigating and continues to investigate the matters that were raised in the Royal Commission this week. I can confirm that that investigation has been underway for some time and that as part of that investigation ASIC has received many thousands of documents as it has undertaken a number of examinations of AMP staff,” the Treasurer said.
“ASIC is also pursuing full compensation of impacted AMP clients. ASIC takes these allegations of false or misleading statements very seriously as does the Government and this is a significant aspect of the investigation.”
“As you can clearly see, ASIC has been engaging closely with the Royal Commission on a range of matters including current and ongoing investigations. ASIC's identification of the suspected illegal conduct gives me great confidence that ASIC will continue to deal with this matter and of course the Royal Commission will as well,” Morrison said.
“What has occurred here and what has been admitted to in the Royal Commission by AMP is deeply disturbing,” the Treasurer said. “They have said that they basically charged people for services they didn't provide and they have admitted to statements that were misleading to ASIC and to their own customers, and this is deeply distressing.”
“This type of behaviour can attract penalties which include jail time. That's how serious these things are. I am very reassured by the fact that these matters were already being pursued by ASIC and will continue to be pursued by ASIC.”