ASIC chases harsher penalties

By Daniel Palmer

The watchdog said it had conducted further comparisons with international markets and found Australia was lagging other jurisdictions on potential penalties, leaving rule breakers with the potential to profit from their transgressions. “In each of the international jurisdictions we have surveyed, regulators or courts have the ability to remove the financial benefit obtained from corporate wrongdoing in non-criminal settings,” ASIC said. “In contrast, maximum non-criminal penalties for corporate wrongdoing in Australia are set at fixed amounts.

In its second submission to the Financial Services Inquiry, the corporate watchdog largely threw its weight behind the findings of the draft report, while again stating its case for stronger penalties for corporate crimes. “[The] review… should include penalties that remove the incentive for corporate wrongdoing by applying monetary penalties set at multiples of the financial benefit obtained or by removing that financial benefit (disgorgement),” ASIC said in its submission.

ASIC also called for an improvement to the minimum education requirements for financial planners in the wake of a string of high-profile scandals. “[We should] raise minimum education and competency standards for personal advice (including particular standards for more complex products or structures such as self managed superannuation funds), and introduce a national examination for financial advisers providing personal advice,” the submission read.

Read more here: Business Spectator


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