Macquarie resists ASIC licence conditions

Macquarie has not accepted ASIC's decision to impose extra conditions on its AFSL, saying the bank has applied to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to have the decision reviewed.

The corporate regulator announced last week that it has imposed additional licence conditions on Macquarie Bank's AFSL after it conducted an investigation into a series of breach reports associated with the client money provisions of the Corporations Act.

Macquarie applied to the AAT on the basis that ASIC's proposed conditions "are duplicative" of the work the company has already done.

"ASIC's decision relates to client money incidents which Macquarie identified and self-reported to ASIC during 2013 and 2014. No incident resulted in a loss to any client," the company said in a statement.

"Macquarie treats client money with the utmost seriousness and, in self-reporting these incidents to ASIC, took a conservative and consultative approach. The incidents reported included errors in atypical situations, and all were addressed with improvements to processes and controls."

According to ASIC, the breaches reported included failing to deposit monies into a designated client trust account and making withdrawals that were not permitted from such an account.

ASIC's proposed conditions require Macquarie to engage an expert, approved by ASIC, to review, assess and report on the adequacy of Macquarie's procedures for ensuring compliance with the client money requirements of the Corporations Act and make recommendations for improvements, ASIC said.

However, Macquarie said it had already undertaken this step in 2013 when it appointed independent professional services firm KPMG and put in place a new "industry-leading client money framework".

"The new framework has resulted in improvements in client money handling controls," the statement said.

Macquarie added that there is an industry issue of "ambiguity and inconsistency" when it comes tio client money rules.

"The current rules have failed to keep pace with market developments, such as the internationalisation of markets. The Australian Financial Markets Association has made submissions which highlighted a number of flaws within the current client money regime," the bank said.

"Addressing these matters will help achieve the key objective of securing client money."

 

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