IOOF on defensive over misconduct allegations
IOOF has denied reports that it kept the corporate regulator in the dark after the firm discovered one of its senior employees was involved with insider trading and numerous other improper practices.
According to a Fairfax Media expose published on Saturday, the financial planning behemoth chose not to report one of its senior staff members to ASIC after it discovered they had been involved in insider trading during an internal investigation in 2009.
Instead, IOOF dealt with the staffer internally and made them donate the profits they had obtained to charity, said the media report, adding that this was just one of a raft of improper practices within the institution.
However, in a statement to ifa, IOOF rebuffed these claims, saying that the firm had indeed notified the regulator and that the issues had now been resolved.
“All the issues raised, historic or recent, have been dealt with appropriately at the time. This includes, where relevant, through internal and board review, notifying industry regulators, ongoing review of compliance measures and controls, employee education and independent investigations,” an IOOF spokesperson said.
“Most of the claims appear to have been promoted by a former employee who is in a legal dispute with the company and are historic in nature.”
The Fairfax Media report quoted a former IOOF employee who confirmed the insider trading and that it was resolved in-house
ASIC refused to comment directly on the case, but said there was regulatory guidance regarding research report providers and suspicious activity reporting.
“Licensees have an obligation to report significant breaches and market participants have an obligation to report information which may raise a warning signal of market misconduct,” an ASIC spokesperson said.
IOOF maintained that it has had a strong compliance record and client satisfaction, and has always acted in the client’s best interests.
“To the best of our knowledge and based on reasonable enquiries, none of the issues raised in the article will cause any loss to any IOOF client, past or present,” the statement said.
Despite these claims, some in the industry have resumed calls for a royal commission into the entire financial planning industry.
On Saturday, CBA whistleblower Jeff Morris tweeted at the Prime Minister Tony Abbott in response to the Fairfax Media report, demanding a royal commission be established.
IOOF said it would continue to investigate any matters that came to its attention.
“Some of the claims relate to legal matters which cannot be canvassed in public at this time therefore IOOF has no further comment,” the spokesperson said.
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