Investigations by the corporate watchdog have reaped more than $350 million for ripped off investors and consumers.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s annual report released on Wednesday revealed 124 investigations were completed in 2017/18, resulting in $351.6 million in compensation or remediation.
As well, ASIC’s work led to 22 criminal convictions and 183 people either being removed, restricted or banned from providing financial services or disqualified from directing companies.
ASIC chairman James Shipton said in the report the royal commission had ‘shone a bright light on the consequences of financial services misconduct and of failing to abide by the standards of behaviour required by the community as a whole’.
‘We need to recognise that every cent in the financial system is other people’s money,’ Mr Shipton said.
‘Corporate Australia – and, in particular, the finance industry – is suffering from a deficit of trust.’
He wrote that ASIC was seeking to use the tools available to it to ‘modify behaviours and improve professional standards, with the aim of rebuilding trust in the financial services sector’.
Over the year 1200 surveillances were conducted, down 200 on the previous year.
Out of these, ASIC identified and addressed 938 cases of failures, or potential failures, to comply with regulations.