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Senator blasts ‘snail’s pace’ ASIC ban

ASIC’s banning of a former Bell Potter adviser convicted of deceptive conduct in April is proof the corporate regulator is reacting too slowly to cases of wrongdoing, says a coalition Senator.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) issued a statement yesterday indicating it had issued former Bell Potter Securities client adviser Lawson Stuart Donald with a permanent ban from financial services, following his conviction for dishonest conduct in the Sydney District Court on April 26.

Speaking to ifa, NSW Nationals Senator John Williams – who was instrumental in forcing a parliamentary inquiry into the Commonwealth Financial Planning affair – said the three-month timeframe between Mr Donald’s conviction and ban confirms his concerns about ASIC’s ability to monitor wrongdoing in the financial advice industry.

“ASIC has got the power to ban people immediately, it’s not like a liquidator scenario where ASIC needs to take [the accused] to court to get them de-registered,” the Senator said.

“If a bloke is convicted by the criminal courts surely that is reason enough to be banned immediately.

“If this person is potentially able to get keep providing services to consumers after a conviction, you have to ask what the hell is going on…ASIC seems to be moving at snail’s pace.”

Mr Williams has issued ASIC’s leadership with more than 100 questions pertaining to its handling of reported wrongdoing by Commonwealth FP advisers.


ASIC was due to respond to the Senator’s inquiry by today but has sought an extension on the responses, which includes concerns raised about vertical integration, which Mr Williams says has been overlooked by the FOFA reforms.