Apr 11, 2014

ASIC, financial planners and nightmare-based regulation

When it came to Commonwealth Bank financial planners ripping off clients, regulation was all a bit too hard for the corporate regulator ASIC.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

It’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry at the performance of Australian Securities and Investment Commission officials yesterday at the Senate Economics Committee inquiry into ASIC. Laughter is the only sensible response to the extraordinary way ASIC dealt with malpractice and outright fraud by financial planners at the Commonwealth Bank’s Commonwealth Financial Planning arm, but the joke is on us, and most particularly on the victims of  some of CFP’s planners.

It was a long day, stretching into the night when the committee eventually went in camera to discuss confidential issues. That caused Senator Nick Xenophon, who had dialled in from Adelaide, to be kicked off because his phone line wasn’t secure. Labor chairman Mark Bishop, Nationals Senator John Williams, who pushed for the inquiry in the first place, Liberal South Australian David Fawcett and Tasmanian Green Peter Whish-Wilson, dialling in from Hobart, were the other interrogators. At one stage, inexplicably, Bishop launched an unprovoked attack on Whish-Wilson, far more aggressive than his questions of either the Commonwealth Bank or ASIC officials. But, as I said, it was a long day.

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12 thoughts on “ASIC, financial planners and nightmare-based regulation

  1. klewso

    Laugh or cry? Whenever I see Medcraft (or anyone else “running” ASIC) out there “explaining/defending what they do” I always think of Sue Thomson’s “Paper Tiger”?
    …. As if any regulator is bigger than industry? They’re there for show – and to clean up after the grits hit the pan.

  2. [email protected]

    From a NSW perspective, there almost seems to be a smell of corruption surrounding ASIC. The same smell that has been hanging around government in NSW.

  3. zut alors

    Pinch me, I’m having a nasty dream. BK, if we didn’t know better we’d assume you were making this up.

    For consistency Jonathan Moylan should be let off the hook & required to appoint an independent monitor to report any future suss activities of his to ASIC. All people created equal, right…?

  4. leon knight

    Head of ASIC could be the next big career move for Arthur Sinodinis…
    I agree with Ailie, there is a smell about this.

  5. AR

    Considering their resources, legal, criminal, intelligence etc ASIC has been astonishingly bad at what little it did – what is the ration of convictions to prosecutions, few though the latter are despite the egregious corporate culpability on daily show??

  6. klewso

    It’s done the best it can on such limited intelligence.

  7. AR

    … or even ‘ratio’?

  8. stephen Matthews

    with respect to ASIC convictions against me it’s a perfect 4:0 .And with lost appeals it’s a truly impressive 12: 0 record. But that has more to do with the subversion of justice by the 20 judges who heard the proceedings .
    Mind you ASIC’s costs in these proceedings must have been tall. Hiring lawyers, barristers and silks to conduct matters in the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of NSW, the NSW Court of Appeal and finally the High Court costs big money.

  9. Daly

    All working Australians are contributing 9.5% of their wages to super. These leeches are sucking on their money without qualifications or permission legally. ASIC is doing nothing and Sinidonis and friends are repealing the minor changes legislated after long fights to give a little more protection to the ‘bambies’ (there to be fleeced).
    We are all captured by the big banks! Watch out for your super, they’ve been fleecing you without mercy or retribution! Thanks Bernard and the Senate Estimates Committee.

  10. 64magpies

    Captured indeed. Really they are worse than useless because they give people a false sense of security. Get rid of ASIC and start again. And while we’re at it, get rid of the state governments’ environmental agencies. They were captured long ago.

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