How ASIC executives paid $33,000 to a team-building consultancy

The team building consultancy the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) retained ahead of the expenses controversy which surrounded its chairman, James Shipton, was subsequently retained at a cost of over $30,000.

Shipton, who will leave ASIC when the Government finds a suitable successor, has confirmed to a Parliamentary Committee that the consultancy, Egon Zehnder (EZ), was retained to provide a “final” stage of its team-building offering for $33,000.

Shipton was being questioned by West Australian Labor backbencher, Patrick Gorman, about what the regulator was going to rebuild its management culture in the wake of the expenses controversy which affected both the chairman and his former deputy, Daniel Crennan QC.

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“We saw a lot of reports in the open about the culture at ASIC and tensions amongst commissioners. Mr Shipton, have you done anything—any team-building work, any executive retreats or any coaching—to actually repair some of the tensions that were widely reported?” Gorman asked.

Shipton told Gorman during the committee hearing that the regulator had been continuing to work with Egon Zehnder.

“I believe we have disclosed to this committee previously that they have been doing work with us on commission effectiveness for some time, and that team has continued its work. We have transitioned that work to getting advice and guidance and facilitation, which I personally believe has been very effective, on how we as a leadership group at the commission can lead in transition. We can come back to you on the procurement and the costs,” Shipton said.

Those costs were finally provided to the committee on Friday, in the following terms:

“In continuance of previous leadership team formation and support work done for the ASIC Commission, Egon Zehnder (EZ) was approached to provide a proposal and a best and final offer for this project as it was a final stage of the ongoing program of work undertaken by the Commission, assisting them build the collective behaviours, skills and practices that support strategic and timely decision making as well as building their overall effectiveness as a team.

“The total cost of this final stage was $33,000 (including GST).”

Egon Zehnder describes itself as “the world’s leadership advisory firm, sharing one goal: transforming people, organisations and the world through leadership”.

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Yeh awesome ASIC, just tack it onto the Adviser Levy, they’ll pay for anything and everything including:
- SMSF False fact / lies sheet
- Paid for comment bribes to highly conflicted academics re FARSEA
- $128k tax Advice bill for Master Shipton, yep Advisers will pay
- $70k Rent for Crennan, yep Advisers pay.
- Wagyu & Shiraz failed cases x2 (and ASIC wanted to appeal. 3rd time as it doesn’t pay Advisers do)
ASIC should need Adviser sign off before spending our money !! What a sad joke is ASIC

And the only one laughing is MIA Jane. She thinks the whole regulatory disaster she has responsibility for is hugely amusing.

Thats OK 15 advisers have paid the ASIC Levy to provide a day out for ASIC Executives. You cant rebuild a culture that never existed.

what a circus, complete with clowns and a ringmaster - good Lord in heaven.....give me strength....

What a bloody mess.

ASIC thinks that advisers should provide advice to clients for a maximum of $300, yet is happy to pay consultants $30,000 for team work advice, and Shipton is happy to pay $120,000 for tax advice. Astounding. ASIC should go the way of the FASEA board and be wound up, it is so corrupt and incompetent.

Well, that's it. I've had a gut full of ASIC, FARSEA and that biggest joke, AFCA.
I'm out, the government can provide financial advice from here on as far as I'm concerned.
Accountants and solicitors have zero oversight and we're being persecuted.
What happened over all the super accounts being converted to SMSF's and left in cash by Accountants? What about the insurances lost as a result?
That's right, nothing. Best interests my ass.

My first thought were about the lives of those Advisers that committed suicide...the retirement dreams of advisers being squashed, the regulatory overhall that seems daily, and all those crying Australians I turn away, because my fee is too high...and my second thought was an ASIC staffer sliding down a raft in Queenstown NZ, being rewarded because they'd met they KPI by finding an incorrect sentences in a FDS . ..and yesterday we heard that APRA had one case in 30 years of breaches of the sole purpose test. Wonder what Mr Dover would think?

Were those expenses disclosed with the risk and implications and alternative strategies considered but not recommended, documented and signed by all advisers prior to engaging the consultant? Where's my OPT in FFS!!!

These clowns are beyond redemption.

There can never be trust in the regulator again, it's time to uncouple ASIC from financial advice regulatory framework, get the professional body in place and all move on in a positive professional client centric model for advice.

This is fine. That ASIC are appointing such a prestigious firm to assist with leadership and culture is money well spent. I'm surprised it was that cheap. And remember $3000 of that is going to the government.

That was only the cost of the final stage, not total spend.

Great comment Master Shipton’s office.
Disgusting, incompetent, corrupt ASIC needs the head of the snake cut off and the rest to wither away.

These guys are on big money, most have been in many leadership roles before, and now they need lessons on leadership and culture? Surely if they cant lead they should be sacked, if they cant set a decent culture as leaders why are they in the role? It beggars belief. No amount of training can get a pigeon to fly like a eagle, you need to get rid of the pigeons!

I agree with myself, money well spent by ASIC.

Where are you Jane Hume? You are presiding over the destruction of the Financial Services profession while public servants can seemingly spend our money on anything. You are as bad as the idiot before you, Kelly O'dwyer. No wonder there is a call for gender quotas in the Liberal Party given the merit seems so thin on the ground. Get your arse into gear MIA Jane.

Do they realise they can google team building exercises for free?

Glad to be leaving this now circus of an industry. The criminals and running the jail !!

never more apt example than now, that a fish rots/stinks from the head

“When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you - When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - You may know that your society is doomed.” ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

how true, so sad.....

ASIC is corrupt.

Nothing but self-indulgence, lack of any form of transparency or integrity and utter rotten to the core anti-planner activity while protecting their union super mates.

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