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ASIC releases report on 'corporate wrongdoing'

ASIC has released a report outlining the penalties available for a range of “corporate wrongdoing”, defined as “misconduct breaching laws in corporate, financial market, and the financial services sectors”.

Report 387 – Penalties for Corporate Wrongdoing – is aimed at comparing Australian corporate failings with comparable failings in Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and United States.

It also looks at domestic comparisons and differences between penalties available under the Corporations Act 2001.

The report found that both the maximum terms of imprisonment and fines available in Australia are broadly consistent with those available in the overseas jurisdictions surveyed, but that non-criminal penalties – including administrative penalties and disgorgement – are not widely available and are lower in Australia when compared with those overseas jurisdictions.

The findings of the report will inform ASIC’s submission to the Financial System Inquiry.

The Senate inquiry into the performance of the corporate regulator – announced in July last year after a series of reports revealed serious misconduct and a cover-up by Commonwealth Bank's financial planning arm and the failure of ASIC to act promptly – is ongoing.