The Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg has made it clear he wants the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to adopt a tougher approach to the financial services industry, including more litigation.
Discussing the fall-out from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, Frydenberg pointed to the criticisms of ASIC contained in the interim report of the Royal Commissioner and the regulator’s preference for negotiating rather than litigating breaches of conduct.
He said he expected to see a significant change in approach from ASIC.
“… we have a new head of ASIC that we appointed, James Shipton, who has adopted this new approach. We've also put in place a new deputy chair with a particular focus on enforcement and his name is Daniel Crennan QC and we've beefed up the funding for ASIC,” Frydenberg said.
He said that, on top of that, the Government had moved to dramatically strengthen the criminal and civil penalties for corporate and financial sector misconduct.
“Just because you're wearing a suit to work, doesn't mean you escape jail. The reality is, under these new laws, people will face up to 10 years imprisonment for financial misconduct and the fines could run into hundreds of millions of dollars with a ten-fold increase,” Frydenberg said.
“We've made this announcement of new penalties which we'll be seeking to legislate through the Parliament where we'll be doubling the criminal penalties being faced by individuals and we'll be, in some cases, increasing ten-fold the financial penalties on corporations which can see the fines run into hundreds of millions of dollars or more.”