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Fewer advisers banned by ASIC, report says

ASIC permanently banned 14 individuals from providing financial advice during the year that ended on 30 June – six fewer than it had last year, according to the corporate regulator's 2014-15 annual report.

Another 23 individuals were either banned or agreed to stay out of the industry for shorter periods of time – eight more than the year before.

In addition, the regulator has either cancelled, suspended or placed conditions on 17 AFSLs, with one additional AFSL agreeing to implement a regime of supervision, review and audit.

That is fewer than the year before, when ASIC cancelled or suspended 23 AFSL and six agreed to have conditions imposed.

At least some of the year's bans were part of ASIC's Wealth Management Project, which was launched in October 2014. The initiative has so far resulted in eight bans from the largest financial advice firms, including NAB, Westpac, CBA, ANZ, AMP and Macquarie.

In its annual report, ASIC said it still has "significant work underway on these entities".

"We also commenced investigations looking at multiple instances of AFS licensees charging consumers for financial advice where the advice does not appear to have been provided," the report said.


Meanwhile, breach reports to ASIC in 2014-15 clocked in at 1,635, up from 1,388 in the previous year. However, only 42 per cent were referred for further investigation.

Of the 2014-15 breach reports, 1,137 referred to Australian financial services licensees and managed investment schemes, while 498 were auditor breach reports.

Of the total number of breach reports, 58 per cent were analysed and assessed for 'no further action', while 42 per cent were referred for 'compliance, investigation or surveillance'.

ASIC also reported a total comprehensive loss of $37.5 million after the net cost of ASIC's services ($349 million) and total revenue from the federal government ($312 million) were taken into account.

The total operating cost of ASIC in the 12 months to 30 June 2015 to taxpayers was $354 million, down from $405 million in 2013-14 and $411 million in 2012-13.

At the same time, the total amount of fees and charges raised for the Commonwealth by ASIC increased to $824 million in 2014-15, up from $763 million in 2013-14 and $717 million in 2012-13.