ASIC sounds warning to the banks


“Large institutions should not treat regular cases brought by a regulator as if it’s a sport or ordinary litigation.”

“They must cooperate with us and there are consequences for not cooperating with us and misleading us is a very, very serious matter.”

They must cooperate with us and there are consequences for not cooperating with us

Daniel Crennan

Mr Crennan has been given the task of drastically improving ASIC’s enforcement record after Commissioner Hayne gave the regulator one last chance – a three year period — to lift its game after finding the regulator focused on negotiated outcomes with the banks for compensation rather than enforcing the full effect of the law.

Both the Coalition and Labor have committed to reviewing ASIC’s performance in three years before deciding whether to strip the regulator of its enforcement powers.

This month ASIC chalked up a victory against AMP which had been claiming legal privilege over a cache of documents relating to its alleged doctoring of a report into its fees for no service scandal.

Mr Crennan said he was happy to talk issues through with the banks but he warned this process had limits.

“They’re entitled to their views, they’re entitled to get legal representation and they’re entitled to argue with us, that is the way an efficient, egalitarian system operates,” he said.

“What they are not entitled to do and what they will get punished for is to in any way frustrate the process.”

Mr Crennan also flagged additional court action against the banks over fees for no service and has reviewed ways in which ASIC could refer individual bankers for criminal charges for failing to self-report breaches of the law within the mandated 10 day time frame.

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“In my view, we really need to pursue some individuals,” he says broadly about his enforcement remit.

He also took a swipe at anonymous backbiting in the press by senior bankers who have complained that tough new laws and penalties will lead to banks not self-reporting their breaches of the law to ASIC.

“The notion that it dis-incentivises them to report is ridiculous and if that’s the attitude they take they will find themselves in bigger trouble than they already are,” he said.

Sarah Danckert is a business reporter.

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