03-351 ASIC Annual Report 2002-03 'Enforcement an essential part of regulation'
Wednesday 5 November 2003
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) enforces and regulates company and financial services laws to protect consumers, investors and creditors.
ASIC’s 2002–03 Annual Report was tabled today in Federal Parliament. The annual report provides a full account of ASIC’s activities and stewardship of public moneys over the 2002–03 financial year.
In the report, ASIC Chairman Mr David Knott, said, ‘Enforcement is an essential part of regulation. ASIC has responded strongly to Australia’s corporate failures and market abuses, including insider trading. These measures have been critical to the restoration of investor confidence and to the good reputation of the Australian equities market’.
‘ASIC achieved record enforcement outcomes, including:
29 criminals jailed for fraud, criminal breach of duties and insider trading (making a total of 73 jail terms served over the past three years); and
$506 million in funds protected, compensation orders or assets frozen for the public and creditors (making a total of $1,437 million over the past three years).
‘ASIC also launched new initiatives targeting insolvency, financial reporting and disclosure, and secured additional budget funding to develop them’, Mr Knott said.
The annual report also shows more consumers turning to ASIC. Visits to our consumer website FIDO rose 79 per cent, public reports of misconduct rose 19 per cent, and database searches increased.
ASIC granted more than 1,400 approvals to facilitate commercial transactions and reduce business costs.
In key results from 2002–03, ASIC:
had 29 criminals jailed among 43 people convicted from briefs prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions;
took 67 civil proceedings, resulting in orders against 151 people or companies; including $121 million in recoveries and compensation orders and $2 million frozen;
had fined or banned 16 people from directing companies, and banned 39 people from offering financial services;
disciplined 8 company auditors and liquidators for misconduct;
obtained 311 additional disclosures to the market, in prospectuses or product disclosure statements;
conducted 803 compliance checks of financial advisers and financial product issuers to test compliance with legal requirements, and obtained significant corrective or enforcement action;
received 875,000 visits to our consumer website, FIDO, up 79 per cent, and distributed 270,000 consumer publications; and
enabled 11 million searches of our databases, up 20 per cent.
Copies of ASIC’s Annual Report are available online from www.asic.gov.au.