ASIC report outlines bannings, criminal charges

ASIC has released its latest enforcement report, showing a number of advisers have been banned from the industry and the regulator secured $149 million in client compensation.

In the report released yesterday, ASIC said its Wealth Management Project has resulted in 12 advisers banned, one infringement notice, additional conditions imposed on one AFSL and the acceptance of EUs from two advisers.

The project was launched in October 2014 in an effort to lift the "standards of major financial advice providers, the quality of their financial advice and their remediation of clients who suffered loss as a result of their failure or action", ASIC said.

The report also states that overall, during the six months to December 2015, ASIC secured $149 million in compensation and remediation for consumers and investors. It also removed 27 individuals from financial services and laid 42 criminal charges.

Of those, six individuals were charged with criminal proceedings. ASIC also issued 20 infringement notices, commenced 105 investigations and completed 86 of them during the report period.

Moreover, there were 19 financial services matters before criminal courts as at 1 January 2016, with another 43 pending results in civil courts. About 20 of those cases pertained to misleading conduct while five included theft or fraud, the report said.

The results derived from ASIC's key areas of focus, which include poor culture in financial services, retail margin foreign exchange trading, illegal phoenix activity and increasing volumes of electronic evidence.

The regulator said it will dedicate the rest of 2016 to focusing on market integrity, companies with poor corporate governance, its Wealth Management Project and issues with land banking real estate investment schemes.

ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer said: "ASIC does everything in its power to detect and take action against those who break the law, to ensure consumers can have trust and confidence in our financial markets and financial services industry."

He added: "This report highlights our strong recent enforcement record and ongoing areas of focus."

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