ASIC wants to embed its own staff in Australian banks

ASIC wants to embed its own staff in Australian banks
Photo: Robyn Mackenzie, Bigstock

The corporate regulatory watchdog the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) wants to be given extra funding from the Government in order to begin embedding its own employees in Australia’s biggest banks to take on misconduct first hand and restore public faith in the finance and banking sector.

The banking royal commission into the banking and finance sector has heard shocking reports of misconduct by Australia’s biggest banks and financial advisory firms. The commission has so far prompted the resignation of several executives, including the CEO of AMP.

There have been several extremely damning revelations to come out of the royal commission, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull admitting that the probe should have been conducted sooner. Some findings showed banks charging fees to deceased customers while others showed dodgy financial advice leading people to lose their homes and savings.

In response to these shocking findings, ASIC wants to install its own specialists inside some of the largest financial institutions in Australia in order to ensure that all rules and regulations are complied with. The specialists would also be tasked with changing the attitudes and culture within the organisations so that problematic behaviour did not re-emerge.

ASIC’s Chariman, James Shipton, is set to present the proposal to Government and host discussions with Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer and Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison regarding the extra funding the commission would need.

Ms O’Dwyer has said that the Government expects to see the proposal in the next few days. A spokesperson for Ms O’Dwyer said that no formal application for funding had been received yet.

The spokesperson went on to say that “as with any request” the Government was going to be considering the “potential benefit” to Australians and will “respond accordingly”.

The Government has been criticised for the way it has funded ASIC in the past, with critics making the argument that the watchdog cannot properly police the banking and finance sector. ASIC has also been directly criticised, with suggestions being made that it was “too soft” in its approach to enforcing regulations.

Mr Morrison has stated that the Coalition would consider ASIC’s request for more funding. He said the Government was “completely open to that”, should ASIC seek funding for a new project.