Skip to main content

Treasury lacks specific powers on ASIC misconduct

Mike Taylor16 November 2023
Man holds head amid question marks

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) may come under the Treasury portfolio but the department has claimed it has no legislative powers to deal with misconduct by ASIC officers or those of other agencies.

Asked what internal processes or policies Treasury had for responding to allegations of misconduct by officers of Treasury Portfolio agencies, the department said it was reliant on the Minister.

“Treasury has no legislated powers to respond to allegations of misconduct by officers in other Treasury portfolio agencies. Treasury may undertake, or engage a third party to undertake, a review or investigation if requested by the relevant Ministers,” it said.

“If Treasury conducts an investigation, it endeavours to do so in a way that protects the integrity of the investigation as well as the privacy of those involved, including the complainants. Substantiated allegations are referred to appropriate authorities within the legislative frameworks available.”

“Each portfolio agency is responsible for providing appropriate work health and safety support for its own officials in accordance with applicable legislation.”

Answering questions on notice from NSW Liberal Senator, Andrew Bragg, as part of the Senate Economics Committee inquiry into ASIC Investigation and Enforcement, Treasury also said that it routinely considered matters relating to the governance of ASIC.

As well, it said that Treasury “received information from many sources with a range of views about ASIC performance, including the efficacy of its governance structure” citing last year’s Financial Regulator Assessment Authority review, scrutiny by Parliamentary committees and Dr Vivienne Thom’s Report on the review of ASIC governance arrangements in 2021.

Bragg had asked Treasury a range of questions on notice stating that the Economics Committee considered that governance arrangements were an important component of its inquiry into ASIC investigation and enforcement.

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

Subscribe to comments
Be notified of
14 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Wildcat
5 months ago

They need the ability to prosecute for stupidity, malicious intent, conflicts, bias and just plain incompetence.

A simpler way is to remove ASIC from advice regulation entirely. When something is useless and rotten to the core it’s easier, more efficient and has better outcomes if you start over.

Old risky
5 months ago

To paraphrase Thomas Beckett : “Will no one rid us, or at least oversight, this meddlesome mob?”

Amazing! Only a Minister exercising discretion can call for an investigation into ASICs activities

So who was responsible for oversighting this legislation back in the early 2000s? Oh, that’s right, Peter Costello

And that very same legislation did not require the chairman of ASIC to compulsory consult with professional bodies representing the practitioners that operated in the industry they sought to regulate

Canberra Out of Control
5 months ago

Red Tape At Record High Across Australia (ipa.org.au) (Please See article link)
Canberra Bureaucracy is Out of Control:

  • No over sight
  • No accountability
  • Unlimited self made budgets
  • Ever increasing Red Tape
anon E Mouse
5 months ago

Remind me again why I had to study ethics???

Has Shoes
5 months ago
Reply to  anon E Mouse

Universities needed your fees, or a handout from Govt…Govt figured advisers could pay seeing as we all have a forest of money trees growing in our back yards…

John Wick
5 months ago

ASIC should re-open the case and properly investigate the financial planner they crucified (lost their houses, savings and nearly lost his family and suffered significant distress through this experience until now) for alleged churning of insurance products. Through some bogus complaint regarding this financial planner, they alleged the financial planner churned insurance products and put his clients into an inferior product and claimed commissions from it (His superiors received the commissions as per evidence, not him). Turns out, this financial planner had no choice to represent himself at the AAT (no funds to hire a lawyer or barrister, spent $400k), Evidence shows new life insurance products had more features and benefits and monthly premiums was significantly lower and materials was severely manipulated to make it look like this financial planner was a crook. This financial planner had no compliance breaches, 100 plus good character references from the community and industry & had all the awards, 3 independent experts was hired to investigate the matter and turns out there was no formal / verbal warning of any breaches and other financial planners were doing it and still practising. When the truth started to surface, executives and including ASIC delegate who ruined this financial planner’s life, retired/resigned and employed somewhere else. ASIC has ruined this person’s life including his family (I am sure ASIC staff have families themselves) by not investigating this matter thoroughly & properly, they simply relied on materials provided to them. Lastly, they alleged 49 client files was churned, however, when this financial planner, decided to represent himself and asked for the 49 client files so he can thoroughly investigate, he has only received 20 client files, until now remaining 29 files have not been presented. One of the judgement states, retraining & monitoring this financial planner was a better option considering the truth was revealed. ASIC need to take accountability for their significant errors and apologise.

John Wick to the rescue
5 months ago
Reply to  John Wick

John Wick, are you working again ?
Be great if John Wick could sort out Canberra 🙂

John Wick to the rescue
5 months ago

Sorry for making fun of a very serious situation.

Wildcat
5 months ago

I read it as you not making fun of a serious situation, the victimised planner, just expressing a joke about what most of the industry feels towards ASIC. Any decent and compassionate person would have nothing but sympathy for the planner.

Wildcat
5 months ago
Reply to  John Wick

If what you say is true an apology is no where near enough.

John Wick
5 months ago
Reply to  Wildcat

Thorough / proper investigation using initial paperwork provided to ASIC, revealed paperwork was severely manipulated:

1. The paperwork alleged, this financial planner churned a client’s insurance product, however, a different financial planner’s name can clearly be seen and still practising at that time.
2. Clients presented on paperwork was not this financial planner’s clients at all.
3. This financial planner did not receive any ongoing commissions (superiors received it all), evidence can prove this. All this financial planner wanted to do was lower the premiums with superior features and benefits to help his clients.
4. Insurance BDM alleged this financial planner was churning as far back as Dec 2012, however, this financial planner received an sms from the same Insurance BDM prior to this comment commending performance and contribution to the business success of previous company.
5.Compliance reports shows same process (alleged churn) from different clients from different years. No breaches & Pass.

This financial planner represented himself for 2days (all alone) infront of the Senior Member and against, ASIC lawyers, barristers and analysts, these people saw how he broke down infront of them explaining to them the truth & the significant trauma he and his family went through (shaking). This financial planner had the courage to do this to save his family (main income earner) & prove his innocence, what ASIC does not know, this financial planner’s father committed suicide during late teens because of financial difficulty (I am sure ASIC staff have families they support as well). Just take accountability & apologise, this financial planner just want to set things right & continue helping the community and make it a better place. The truth is in the paperwork this financial planner presented.

Not very nice people.
5 months ago

I was coerced to sign an EU in front of 5 witnesses – 3 my side, and 2 ASIC staff. I met with them once, there was no formal client complaint against me after 23 years of practicing. They “randomly” audited 10 files which were clean and compliant. ASIC had nothing but said that my file notes were not up to scratch. During this first meeting they then slid an EU over to me and said that if I didn’t sign it “they would allocate 5 years to investigate every file we had, until they found something.” To save our business and keep our staff I signed it. There was no client remediation nor writing to any clients to inform of apparent misconduct. That was it – ASIC in a couple of hours got the scalp they were after; I lost my profession and my reputation. True story…

Wildcat
5 months ago

That’s disgusting. Refer my original comment at the top. Rotten to the core with bias and incompetence.

ASIC need to go.

John Wick to the rescue
5 months ago

What did the EU say or make you do ?