Australia

Topic: Investigations

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In the age of disruption, ASIC is a pioneer for cross-border regulation

In an attempt to respond swiftly to some of the risks and challenges that have arisen from technological developments and information sharing, ASIC has become one of the first signatories to the newest standards for cross-border enforcement. The latest Enhanced Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Consultation and Cooperation and the Exchange of Information (EMMoU) builds … Continue Reading

Royal Commission is making the BEAR growl louder – striking FEAR into financial institutions

At Norton Rose Fulbright, we have commented on a number of occasions that we expect the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) to be extended beyond just authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) and so as to cover other areas of the financial services sector.  Such move, which we have previously informally nicknamed “FEAR” (Financial Executive Accountability Regime), … Continue Reading

Possibility of extending the claws of BEAR

As the financial sector waits for the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to fully awaken the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) through the provision of further guidelines, there is already a lot of chatter as to whether BEAR should be extended beyond its initial coverage of APRA-regulated Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs). The Parliamentary Joint Committee … Continue Reading

Treasurer wants BEAR by the start of next financial year

The Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, has given his Second Reading Speech in the Parliament with respect to the Treasury Laws Amendment (Banking Executive Accountability and Related Measures) Bill 2017 (BEAR Legislation) that introduces the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR). In his speech, the Treasurer made no surprises except that his Government still intends … Continue Reading

Encouraging results on consumers’ perception of banks

In April 2016, the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) initiated the Banking Reform Program – Better Banking (Program).[1]   The Program was developed to protect consumer interests, increase transparency and accountability, and to build consumer trust and confidence in banks through a range of initiatives. Edelman Intelligence has conducted two rounds of consumer research studies to track … Continue Reading

Australian financial institutions may see greater involvement in counter terrorism financing efforts

In light of today’s geo-political climate and public concerns over the threat of terrorist attacks, we see a trend of governments placing greater focus on countering the funding of terrorist groups. Indeed, the United Nation’s International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, which Australia has ratified, has been in force since 2002 … Continue Reading

Royal Commission into Misconduct in Financial Services

The much anticipated Royal Commission was no surprise to the Australian banking industry.  What was surprising was the extension of its terms of reference to local and foreign deposit-taking institutions, life and general insurers, superannuation funds, as well as asset managers, financial planning businesses and all other holders of Australian financial services licences.  Let there … Continue Reading

Annual Financial Institution Symposium

Norton Rose Fulbright is pleased to offer you a rare opportunity to hear from some of the leading voices in risk and disruption. We will be hosting our annual Financial Institutions Symposium in our Sydney office on Thursday 27 October 2016. Discussion will focus on current ‘Risks & Disruptors’ in the global technology and regulatory … Continue Reading

Government response to the Financial System Inquiry

Government releases its Response to FSI Final Report. The Australian Government has released its Response to last December’s Final Report of the Financial System Inquiry or ‘Murray Inquiry’. The Government appears to have accepted almost all of the Inquiry’s recommendations and has also proposed additional measures that are consistent with the Murray Inquiry’s underlying philosophy. … Continue Reading

ASIC “on the cusp of change” as organisational culture becomes a key focus of the regulator

The release of ASIC’s corporate plan for the coming three years marks the beginning of a new era of conduct regulation in Australia; one in which organisations may face enforcement action for having a culture that is not adequately consumer-centric or for taking advantage of consumer biases which lead to poor consumer decision making. We … Continue Reading

Privilege and internal investigations

Conducting investigations into allegations of regulatory breaches, fraud or corruption can present serious legal and commercial risk if privilege cannot be asserted over the findings of those investigations. That risk may be compounded if boards choose to conduct such investigations in-house, often with compliance managers or in-house counsel reporting the findings of those investigations directly … Continue Reading

Super fraud – APRA releases guidance on prevention and response

On 10 June 2015, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) released the final version of its Superannuation Prudential Practice Guide SPG 223 – Fraud Risk Management (SPG 223) following consultation with industry conducted in October 2014. As with other prudential practice guides released by APRA, SPG 223 is a non-binding document which sets out APRA’s … Continue Reading

Regulatory disruption

Technology led innovation can cause much indigestion for conduct and prudential regulators as they try to find the right regulatory pigeion hole for innovators in their regimes that were not built to handle such innovation.  It is this disruptive impact of innovation that is shaping the regulation of tomorrow. Numerous conduct regulators around the world have acknowledged that a mandatory … Continue Reading

Innovation and Disruption

Financial Institution Symposium  Technology-led innovation has the potential to truly disrupt existing business models and distribution channels in the financial services industry. In Australia and more broadly, we have seen start-ups build innovative payment systems, peer-to-peer lending platforms, crypto-currencies, robo-advice and automated investment management. However, the large institutions are well capitalised, have large customer bases … Continue Reading

Court finds unconscionable conduct in sale of CCI

Recent enforcement action by ASIC against collapsed payday lender, the Cash Store Pty Ltd (TCS), has put the sale of consumer credit insurance (CCI) into sharp focus. On 19 February 2015, the Federal Court awarded penalties against TCS and its loan funder, Assistive Finance Australia Pty Ltd (AFA) of almost $19 million. It found that … Continue Reading

Enforceable undertakings – ASIC to make experts’ findings available to the public

On 19 February 2015, we reported on ASIC enforcement actions in the second half of 2014. ASIC has since updated its regulatory guidance on enforceable undertakings (RG 100).  The updated guidance will apply to enforceable undertakings accepted by ASIC from 9 March 2015. The changes made to the guidance centre primarily around the engagement of experts … Continue Reading

Australia’s bribery and corruption regulator flexing its powers: a ‘wake-up call’ to company directors

For the second time ever, the Australian Federal Police have laid bribery and corruption charges against directors of an Australian company. Unlike their regulator counterparts in the US and UK, the AFP have until now, been very reluctant to exercise their anti-bribery powers, but with a reported further 14 active foreign bribery investigations at the moment … Continue Reading

ASIC enforcement actions Q4 2014: is an increase in penalties on the cards?

ASIC has recently released its quarterly enforcement report detailing enforcement outcomes between 1 July 2014 and 31 December 2014.  The report addresses the range of criminal and civil action taken by the regulator, and highlights action taken against companies and directors resulting in criminal charges which were most significant during the period. In addition, significant … Continue Reading

CFTC staff extends no-action relief – allows four foreign clearing organizations to continue clearing swaps for US persons

On December 18, 2014, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (“CFTC’s”) Division of Clearing and Risk (“DCR”) issued extensions of previously granted “No-Action” relief to four foreign clearing organizations. The relief allows these foreign clearing organizations to continue to clear swaps for certain United States persons (“U.S. persons”) without being registered as a derivatives clearing organization … Continue Reading

FSI Consumer Protection Recommendation 21: A targeted and principles-based product design and distribution obligation

The FSI shares concerns raised by ASIC that consumers are buying products that do not match their needs. The existing regulatory framework relies heavily on disclosure, financial advice and financial literacy. However, disclosure can be ineffective for a number of reasons, such as complexity of documents and misaligned interests. The FSI also considers that current … Continue Reading

Product governance and a proactive, interventionist regulator: the consumer protection recommendations of the Financial Systems Inquiry

The release of the final report of the Financial Systems Inquiry (FSI) brings us a step closer to a significant shift in conduct regulation in Australia.  As we have previously reported, Australia seems set to join a UK and European trend away from regulation driven by disclosure  towards an approach where product providers bear the responsibility … Continue Reading

The Murray Inquiry – Technology and cybersecurity

As with the Murray Inquiry’s Interim Report, the Final Report highlights cyber security and technology related fraud risks as an emerging trend for the financial services industry that presents many challenges. At the forefront of the risks that arise is the rapid pace of technological change that is occurring within the financial system and how … Continue Reading

The Murray Inquiry – Corporate Administration and Bankruptcy

The Murray Report  accepts that “Australia’s external administration provisions are generally working well and do not require wholesale revision”. ASIC is to retain its supervision of corporate insolvency with recommendations that it be better resourced and “should devote more attention to industry supervision including more proactively identifying and weeding-out misconduct”. This approach is consistent with … Continue Reading

ASIC releases six-monthly enforcement report: 256 enforcement outcomes and plenty more in the pipeline

ASIC, which is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator, has over the last six months achieved a bumper 256 enforcement outcomes designed to protect consumers and enhance the fairness and efficiency of the financial markets.  These enforcement outcomes included criminal, civil and administrative actions in addition to negotiated outcomes such as enforceable undertakings. While … Continue Reading
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