Oct 122018

On 1 October 2018 the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released a draft of a new Report as to Affairs (commonly known as a RATA). A copy of this form, which includes detailed instructions, may be downloaded from my website or from this ASIC journal.

The new name of the report is to be Report On Company Activities and Property (ROCAP). ASIC intends releasing it in November 2018.


Form apges

The following comments outline my preliminary analysis of the draft. Continue reading »

ASIC compares penalties for corporate crime

 ASIC, Corporate Insolvency, Offences, Regulation, White collar crime  Comments Off on ASIC compares penalties for corporate crime
Mar 212014

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has completed a review of penalties in Australia for corporate wrongdoing to assess whether they are proportionate and consistent.  The review compared ASIC’s penalties with those in other countries; those of other Australian regulators; and across ASIC’s regime.white-collar-cartoon-01


Results of this review were released yesterday (20 March 2014) in Report 387 – “Penalties for corporate wrongdoing”.

Key findings

ASIC says the key findings show that:

  • on the international comparison —
    • while our maximum criminal penalties—jail and fines—are broadly consistent with those available in other countries, there are significantly higher prison terms in the US, and higher fines in some overseas countries for certain offences;
    • there is a broader range of civil and administrative penalties in other countries, they are higher, and they include the ability to remove financial benefit from wrongdoing (i.e. disgorgement);
  • on the comparison with other Australian regulators—
    • the maximum civil penalties available to ASIC are lower than those available to other regulators and are fixed amounts, not multiples of the financial benefits obtained from wrongdoing; and
  • on the comparison across ASIC’s regime—
    • there are differences between the types and size of penalties for similar wrongdoing. For example, providing credit without a licence can attract a civil penalty up to ten times greater than the criminal fine for those who provide financial services without a licence.

ASIC media release

In releasing the report ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft said:

“Effective enforcement is critical for ASIC in pursuing our strategic priorities of promoting fair and efficient financial markets and ensuring confident and informed investors and financial consumers. It depends on outcomes that genuinely deter corporate wrongdoing. The public expects ASIC to take strong action against serious corporate wrongdoers. Those who break the law and cause severe damage should face tough penalties. This will make them and others think twice about breaking the law. Tough penalties have a powerful deterrent effect.”



NOTE by author: Report 387 does not appear to review penalties for summary insolvency offences.  To read my paper on this subject, “Convictions for summary insolvency offences committed by company directors”, regarding the Australian scene, CLICK HERE
Feb 192014

In today’s opening statement to the Senate inquiry into the performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Chairman of ASIC, Mr Greg Metcalf, has called for greater penalties for breaches of corporate law and has strongly defended ASIC staff.

Greg Metcalf

Greg Metcalf, ASIC Chairman

On Penalties

“On the topic of penalties, I would like to say a little more.

There is an expectation among the public that we will take strong action against wrongdoers – and doing this will send a message that shapes future behaviour. However, one of the barriers we face to achieving this is the inadequacy of penalties.

We have outlined some of these inadequacies in our main submission. They include the fact that:

  • some comparable criminal offences currently attract inconsistent penalties
  • civil penalties:
    • are currently set too low
    • are not available for a sufficiently wide range of misconduct
  • lastly, we require a more graduated set of penalties to provide an effective enforcement response in a wider range of cases.

We consider that this includes the greater availability of infringement notice powers.

It is frustrating – both for us and the public – when the penalty available to respond to misconduct is much less than the profit someone made in the process.  If this is so, then rational players in the market will routinely take that risk.  If the thinking of law-breakers is a tussle between fear versus greed, then we need penalties that amplify the fear and smother the greed.

We need penalties that create a fear that overcomes any desire to take risks and break the law.”;

On ASIC staff

“Chairman, one disappointing thing about some of the submissions was the inflammatory tone of criticisms made – particularly about ASIC staff.

ASIC has exceptional employees. They are men and women who work at ASIC for good reason. This is because they believe in the public interest. They are skilled and committed to their work. Considering the difficult job they do, they should receive appropriate respect.

Our people have diverse backgrounds – they have experience in law, accounting and financial services. Many have invaluable industry or consumer advocacy experience. This means they understand how markets work and the issues facing investors, consumers and the wider industry.

ASIC employees also undertake ongoing internal training and have access to industry secondment programs, which further develop their skills.

All of these things make our people highly sought after by the private sector and internationally by other regulators.”

ASIC logo
 SOURCE: These are extracts from an ASIC document dated 19 February published on the ASIC website.  The subtitle is “Speaking notes from Greg Metcalf, Chairman, ASIC”.  To see CLICK HERE.