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15-210MR ASIC releases enforcement report for the first half of 2015
ASIC today released its enforcement report for the period 1 January 2015 to 30 June 2015.
In the last six months, ASIC achieved 323 enforcement outcomes to protect financial consumers and enhance the fairness and efficiency of Australia’s financial markets. This included criminal as well as civil and administrative (e.g. banning or disqualification) actions, and negotiated outcomes, including enforceable undertakings.
Enforcement outcomes—1 January to 30 June 2015 (adapted from Figure 4 in Appendix 1 of the report)
The report outlines some important cases and decisions during the first half of 2015 and highlights some of ASIC’s ongoing enforcement priorities, including tackling poor culture, poor conduct in the retail margin FX trading industry and illegal phoenix activity.
‘ASIC is committed to holding those who intentionally break the law to account so that trust and confidence in our financial services industry and markets is strong.’ ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said.
‘Poor culture is a key driver of poor conduct in the financial services industry. Given the strong connection between the two, tackling poor culture will be a major priority for ASIC over the next six months and beyond. We'll ensure that everyday Australians who suffer loss are remediated appropriately and as quickly as possible.’
Notable outcomes over the past six months include:
The Cash Store: the Federal Court awarded record penalties totalling $18.98 million against payday lender, The Cash Store, and loan funder, Assistive Finance for their failure to comply with consumer lending laws. Since the Federal Court’s decision, CGU Insurance and Accident and Health International Underwriting have refunded customers over $2 million in payday loan consumer credit insurance premiums and fees for insurance sold by The Cash Store. Allianz Australian Insurance also refunded customers over $400,000 in payday loan consumer credit insurance premiums for insurance sold by The Cash Store.
James Black: the former CEO of ABC Learning Centres,James Black was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, wholly suspended. Mr Black had earlier pleaded guilty to knowingly making false or misleading material available to the auditor of ABC Learning Centres.
Melinda Scott: financial adviser Melinda Scott was sentenced to six years and three months imprisonment with a three year and ten month non-parole period. Ms Scott had earlier pleaded guilty to defrauding more than 150 clients of over $5.9 million over a period of 20 years.