ASIC chairman Tony D’Aloisio likes to project a tough corporate persona.

When the ASX board wilted in the face of institutional pressure and shafted him for the top job after the merger with SFE Corp, he threatened to sue their pants off until a tasty $7.78 million severance package was negotiated.

D’Aloisio was paid to remain an ASX employee until October 25, 2006, but former Treasurer Peter Costello had already announced his appointment as an ASIC commission on October 5, 1996, starting on November 22.

By May 13 last year the former Mallesons boss had assumed the chairman’s post at ASIC and by May 30 he was before Senate Estimates making bolshie opening statements.

As Michael Pascoe reported in Crikey at the time:

Tony is sounding rather hairy-chested about his new responsibilities. Asked why it had taken three collapses for the commission to get serious about Westpoint-style schemes, he responded: “The simple answer is that I wasn’t there.”

Fast forward a year and D’Aloisio granted a rare interview to Alan Kohler on Inside Business yesterday. Once again, he was beating the chest when he said: “I think people that know me know that I’m in control of the organisation.”

The only problem with all this tough talk is ASIC’s record and there is no more telling key-performance indicator than its jailing rate. Last year it only managed to jail 16 white collar crooks, the second lowest number in 10 years. The full ASIC jail list is available here, but have you heard of any of these spivs that Tony locked up over his first 12 months?

Richard James Blundell
Marcel Ivan Shears
Paul John Blundell
Edward Lawrence
Mark Alan Taylor
John Gerard Sage
Anthony John Brownlee
Stuart Adrian Corp
Brian Millwood Smith
Piet Cornelius Walters
Robert Orehek
Peter Robert Woodland
Michael Kwong
Dominic Cincotta
Ronald William Wynhoven
Randolph Raymond
Tunde Doja
Kym Sellers

Not a big name among them that would have generated any decent publicity and sent associated deterrent messages to all those other corporate crooks out there.

Over the long term, ASIC has averaged a jailing every three weeks so it was a 41-day drought that ended on Friday when former Adelaide stockbroker Kym Andrew Sellers got four years for stealing $441,000 from 12 clients of stockbroker Taylor Collinson.

Given all the corporate malfeasance going on at the moment, it was pretty amazing that D’Aloisio’s first speech  after Kevin Rudd’s election was one to the Australian Institute of Company Directors calling for lower director liabilities.

Amazingly, the Rudd Government seems to agree with him, so all those big corporate crooks out there can breathe easy, regardless of how tough Tony talks.

Today’s Mayne Report video covers The AFR’s conflicts in this new ASX joint venture.