Westpac offers thin response to ASIC charges

Westpac has offered a sparse response to the civil charges brought against it by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), saying that it had previously identified and acted upon misconduct by the adviser who the regulator’s allegations related to.

The regulator’s charges were focused on the allegedly poor financial advice given by adviser Sudhir Sinha when he worked at the bank.

Westpac’s response said that it had identified compliance concerns regarding Sinha in May, 2014 and subsequently commenced an investigation against him. Sinha was then suspended in September and dismissed in November of that year.

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Westpac also reported Sinha to ASIC in 2015.

The bank said that it proactively initiated and completed a remediation process to identify and compensate affected customers.

It said it had made improvements to the risk management and compliance controls which originally detected Sinha’s conduct.

As the matter was now before the courts, Westpac said it would not be commenting on allegations made in the proceedings. It said that it would continue cooperating with ASIC and seek to resolve the proceedings quickly.

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