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ASIC penalties, budget cuts slammed

The head of the corporate regulator says his organisation is under funded and penalties for corporate crime are as light as a feather.

深圳桑拿网

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) chairman Greg Medcraft has confirmed there will be another hit to to its funding in the 2015/16 federal budget.

“It’s already locked in, the forward estimates are showing a $15.8 million dollar cut to us,” he told ASIC’s annual forum.

The May 2014 budget flagged a cut of $120 million to ASIC’s funding over four years.

“It’s frankly quite clear that we’re very thinly resourced across the board and everyone from the day I first started the job has been saying ‘you don’t have enough money’,” Mr Medcraft said.

The head of the Abbott government’s financial system inquiry David Murray also slammed the cuts to the corporate regulator.

“You can’t do this and have a good police force, you just can’t do that,” he told the forum.

“You have to take what you’re asking ASIC to do and do an expert study of what is needed to do that job.”

The pair also bemoaned the weak penalties imposed for crimes exposed by ASIC.

Former National Australia Bank employee Lukas James Kamay was last week sentenced to seven years in jail for using market sensitive Australian Bureau of Statistics data to net $7 million.

“To us the penalty regime in ASIC is like being hit by a lettuce leaf, it’s just not strong enough,” Mr Murray said.

“The combination of a stronger penalty regime and the preparedness to enforce it, that’s a cultural issue, it’s a resourcing issue and it is underfunded, there is no question it is underfunded.”

Mr Medcraft said one of the things that came out of the financial system inquiry was that Australians want ASIC to be a more proactive and interventionist regulator.

“Actually a leaf is too heavy, it’s probably more a feather,” he said.

“Every time I look at penalties I just throw my hands up in horror at just how inadequate they are.”

 

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