ASIC response to ABC TV's Four Corners questions: 30 September 2013
Why has ASIC failed to carry out an investigation in such an important case?
An ASIC statement in March 2012 discussed the Australian Federal Police’s referral to ASIC about bribery allegations concerning Securency International Pty Ltd and Note Printing Australia Limited. The statement said ASIC had reviewed the AFP’s material for possible directors’ duty breaches of the Corporations Act and had decided not to take the matter further. This decision followed a thorough assessment of the information. Read ASIC statement - March 2012.
As there are some related matters before the Court, we are not commenting on the reasons for our decision but the public can be completely and utterly confident in ASIC’s actions.
Why has ASIC made no attempt to contact witnesses who hold evidence of these breaches?
ASIC reviewed more than 10,000 pages of documents including several detailed witness statements. ASIC had very substantial material on which to base its decision.
Why should the public or government have any faith in ASIC’s commitment to enforcing breaches of the Corporations Act when it fails to investigate such an important and high profile case?
ASIC has closely looked at the evidence from the AFP’s investigation and we have decided not to take further action. As there are related prosecutions before the Court, we cannot discuss the reasons for our decision but the public can be completely and utterly confident in ASIC’s actions.
More broadly, ASIC’s enforcement record is solid:
- ASIC’s willingness to investigate and enforce company officers breaches of the Corporations Act, arising from allegations of overseas corruption, has been demonstrated by its issuing of six civil proceedings in the Australian Wheat Board matter. The first two to be concluded have resulted in fines and bannings.
- After the collapse of Trio Capital, our investigation has led to 11 people being jailed, banned, disqualified or removed from the industry for more than 50 years.
- Earlier this year we accepted an enforceable undertaking from Macquarie Equities following a surveillance that found deficiencies in its supervision of advisers. Macquarie must rectify the problems and create a culture where compliance is central to advice, not an afterthought.
- Earlier this year, a so-called “mastermind” behind a dozen unregistered offshore managed investment funds was permanently banned and fined $500,000 - the largest fine in ASIC’s history. What is more, three advisers linked with this scheme are now in jail.
- Our actions against widespread problems at Commonwealth Financial Planning Limited (CFPL) resulted in:
- seven advisers banned;
- a comprehensive compensation program that has seen more than 1,100 investors receive $50 million to date; and
- CFPL entering into a court enforceable undertaking that required it to reform completely the way it does business and deals with clients.
- The Bank of Queensland, Senrac Pty Limited and Macquarie Bank Limited paid more than $1 million to former Storm investors Barry and Deanna Doyle for their financial loss.
- This year we have had 8 convictions for insider trading, including 3 people sent to jail.
- A former director of Dollarforce Financial Services Pty Ltd was jailed for four years over his role in the collapse of the property development group.
Enforcement is fundamental to ASIC and our priorities of ensuring investors are confident and informed and that market integrity is maintained.