Jul 5, 2013

Double standards as gutless ASIC targets the little guy

The corporate regulator is too scared and incompetent to take on large companies, but has come down hard on the man who sent out a fake press release to expose the stupidity of finance journalists.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Is there a bigger joke in Australian regulation than the Australian Securities and Investment Commission?

Journalist Adele Ferguson’s excellent exposé of ASIC’s stunning lack of interest in detailed evidence provided by whistleblowers on misconduct within the Commonwealth Bank, which has led to a Senate inquiry into the regulator, is only the latest revelations about ASIC’s remarkable ineptitude. Whether it’s failing to successfully prosecute references from the Australian Stock Exchange, waving through exemptions on financial reporting, a failed seven-year investigation of Offset Alpine and Trevor Kennedy, the regulator’s spectacular failures on Westpoint and Storm, its abandonment of any action against ABC’s Eddy Groves or its miserable litigation record, ASIC is a byword for incompetence.

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21 thoughts on “Double standards as gutless ASIC targets the little guy

  1. Bo Gainsbourg

    Extremely well said. This is a blight on the entire profession of financial journalists and the performance or non performance of ASIC over recent years. Not to mention that the fact of what the guy was trying to draw attention to is the single most serious financial, economic and environmental issue for our future. Whitehaven is firmly in the unburnable carbon bracket, and we won’t be able to get away from that now or in the future.

  2. Le Masurier

    This is so ridiculous I fear I’m missing something…

  3. SusieQ

    Excellent article BK!
    We await a response from ASIC…..oh look, a pig just flew past……

  4. Rambling Rose

    It’s time for programs like Four Corners to investigate ASIC.

  5. Hamis Hill

    The stupidity of finance journalists?
    We are unused to such honesty in the land that forgot the GFC.

  6. Andrew Dolt

    Hey, the ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft knows who the real enemy is. Not the bankers who securitised highly dodgy assets and brought about the Global Financial Crisis, obviously. After all Greg was the banker who was Societe Generale’s global head of securitisation, the guy who co-founded the American Securitisation Forum, and the chief executive of the Australian Securitisation Forum. Then he took over the mangy old watchdog ASIC, and ensured it lost any focus it might previously have retained. Why would he want to disturb his old mates when he can instead go after a guy living in a tree whose only motivation was to make clear ANZ’s hypocrisy over the Equator Principles?

  7. Tom Stayner

    Excellent article, thanks Bernard. Is it naïve to even ask how many times an actual white-collar criminal has been jailed (at all, let alone for 10 years) for making “false and misleading statements” under this same act? The impression I’m getting is never – anyone know?

    A very minor correction – Whitehaven’s projects are in open-cut coal mining, not CSG. But you’re right that they’re “potentially highly damaging”. In fact Maules Creek mine, in Leard State Forest from where Moylan sent the press release, got final approvals yesterday to start next week…

  8. Patriot

    Throw the worthless hippie in gaol.

  9. Serenatopia

    Sorry BK—ASIC, ATO, AFP—aren’t gutless to go after the big fish—they are run by the big fish—this isn’t a case of incompetence—this is corruption playing right before our eyes and our journalists keep diluting the obvious conclusions!

  10. Serenatopia

    Just in case you missed the obvious conclusion—Australia is a dictatorship!

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