Westpac fined for legal reporting requirement failure

Westpac and two of its registered financial corporations (RFCs) – St George Finance Holdings and Capital Finance – have been fined $1.5 million for failing to report data by required deadlines.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) said the firms breached the requirements of the Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001.

The regulatory body said Westpac was up to 20 days late in filing its reports for the month ending 31 March 2019 under the Economic and Financial Statistics program, which were due on 1 May. The two RFCs missed the same deadline by up to 37 days.

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The RFCs were also up to 28 days late in submitting their reports for the month ending 30 April 2019.

“Additionally, all three Westpac entities were between 9 and 28 days late in filing their reports for the quarter ending 31 March 2019, which were due on 10 May 2019,” APRA said.

“Failure to submit monthly or quarterly returns within the timeframes specified by APRA’s reporting standards is a strict liability offence.”

APRA said it sent the entities notices on 22 July informing its intention to serve them with infringement notices and to allow the entities to respond.

However, after assessing Westpac’s responses APRA decided to proceed with issuance of infringement notices.

Commenting, APRA deputy chair John Lonsdale said: “By issuing these infringement notices, APRA wants to send a strong message to industry that compliance with our reporting standards is mandatory, and cannot be considered secondary to other business priorities”.

The Westpac entities have until 6 September to pay the fines.

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