CANBERRA, AAP – The chair of Australia’s corporate watchdog believes he made the right decision in returning to the regulator, albeit for only a few months.
James Shipton returned to head the Australian Securities and Investments Commission earlier this year after being cleared of misconduct following an expenses investigation.
But he still decided to resign and is now waiting for a new chairman to be announced.
Mr Shipton told a parliamentary hearing he still had a contribution to make to ASIC and will help the transition to a new chair.
Quizzed by deputy chair of the House of Representatives economic committee and Labor MP Andrew Leigh, Mr Shipton said he was very comfortable with his decisions.
“This is most definitely in the best interests of the organisation,” he said.
“It’s a matter, in many respects, Dr Leigh, more hands on deck the better.”
In his opening statement to the hearing he said the pandemic showed ASIC in its best light, quickly providing ways to support businesses and consumers.
“Our primary focus was on market stability and reducing the risk of harm to consumers through scams, misleading advice and unlicensed conduct,” he said.
“We facilitated the raising of much needed capital, acted to stabilise a volatile market, and took practical steps to assist companies conduct meetings which could not be conducted in person.”
The hearing was told it is currently investigating around 20 superannuation funds who are deemed to have done wrong.
“Those investigations are across all sectors of the industry,” commissioner Danielle Press told the hearing.
Asked by committee chair and Liberal MP Tim Wilson whether any had reached a point where they could proceed to court, Ms Press said: “Yes there are, but obviously I couldn’t tell you which ones they are right now.”