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Tanzer spells out ASIC successes

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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) banned 57 people from providing financial services in 2013/14, according to Commissioner Greg Tanzer.

Some 23 Australian financial services licences were cancelled in the same period, he told Macquarie University’s Financial Risk Day in Sydney last Friday.

ASIC action resulted in 30 criminals being convicted and 14 jailed. More than $174 million in compensation was secured for investors, nearly $6 million was recovered in fines and 62 people were removed from directing companies.

Mr Tanzer says 70% of ASIC’s regulatory resources are devoted to surveillance and enforcement.

“We disrupt harmful behaviour. For example, last financial year ASIC action resulted in 127 instances of potentially misleading promotional material being withdrawn or amended.”

He says ASIC considers poor “gatekeeper” conduct in the financial services sector to be a key strategic risk. “In particular, weak compliance systems, poor cultures, unsustainable business models and conflicted distribution may result in poor advice, mis-selling and investor loss.”

New technology is another major risk, while poor retail product design and disclosure and misleading marketing threaten to disadvantage consumers, particularly at retirement.

“Innovation and complexity in product distribution and financial markets through new technology may deliver mixed outcomes for consumers and issuers.”