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Financial regulators and industry meet

by Martha.Ware 21. July 2011 09:19

The Board of the Finance Industry Council of Australia (FICA) held talks on Tuesday with the APRA Chairman and Members, and the ASIC Chairman and Commissioners, on regulatory and other issues facing the industry.

The annual liaison meeting discussed a wide range of matters relevant to the Australian finance industry both at a national and international level.

International developments that have the potential to have an impact on the Australian industry were discussed, including the Basel III capital and liquidity standards, the influence of technology on securities markets and US tax law.

Domestic issues around banking reform, superannuation reform, competition in exchange-traded markets, and the recent superannuation and insurance reviews were also covered.

All participants agreed that good continuing dialogue between the industry and its regulators is important to ensuring balanced outcomes for the industry and the broader community.

FICA comprises the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA), Abacus - Australian Mutuals, Australian Finance Conference (AFC), Australian Financial Markets Association (AFMA), Australian Securitisation Forum, Financial Services Council (FSC) and the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).

For further comments please call:
APRA: Charlie Hooper (02) 9210 3052
ASIC: media unit 1300 208 215
FICA: Duncan Fairweather (02) 9776 7990

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APRA | ASIC

Greg Medcraft - Address to the APRA leadership team

by Martha.Ware 6. July 2011 09:30

In a recent speech to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority leadership team, Greg Medcraft, the Chairman of ASIC, spoke about ASIC's strategy for the future, the overlap of responsibilities between ASIC and APRA, and the future shape of the securitisation market. For a full transcript of the speech, click here.

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APRA | ASIC

The Centro case - discussion by Robert Austin

by Martha.Ware 1. July 2011 16:08

Click here for a link to Robert Austin's interview with the Financial Review.

Former director sentenced for insider trading

by Martha.Ware 27. June 2011 09:11

Former director of WHL Energy Ltd (WHL), Dr Jeffery James Bateson, has been sentenced to a term of two years imprisonment to be served by way of an Intensive Correction Order after pleading guilty to one charge of insider trading brought by ASIC. Dr Bateson was also fined $70,000.

Dr Bateson appeared in the Supreme Court of New South Wales on 24 June 2011. On sentencing, Justice Buddin noted that Dr Bateson had entered a plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity.

As a result of his conviction for this offence, Dr Bateson is automatically disqualified from managing a corporation for a period of five years.

ASIC had alleged that between 11 and 16 May 2008, Dr Bateson acquired 550,000 shares in WHL in the name of a self-managed superannuation fund of which he and his wife were the sole beneficiaries. Dr Bateson acquired the shares when he was in possession of price-sensitive information relating to a joint venture agreement proposal that WHL had not, at the relevant time, publicly announced.

Dr Bateson was a director of WHL (then known as Wind Hydrogen Ltd) at the time.

‘Investor confidence in our markets is at the heart of ASIC’s market regulation agenda. ASIC has recently increased its focus on insider trading and market manipulation, successfully prosecuting eleven individuals since 1 January 2009
with another 12 individuals currently before the Courts. ASIC is currently investigating a further 62 cases of alleged markets offences’, ASIC Commissioner, Shane Tregillis, said.

The matter was referred to ASIC by the Australian Securities Exchange and was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

Background

1. Since 1 January 2009, ASIC and the CDPP have successfully prosecuted the following matters in relation to insider trading or market manipulation:

NameOffenceDate
Andrew Dalzell Insider Trading 23 May 2011
Oswyn de Silva Insider Trading 31 March 2011
Tamara Newing Market Manipulation 18 January 2011
John Hartman Insider Trading 2 December 2010
Noel Stephenson Insider Trading 20 July 2010
Newton Chan Market Manipulation 13 July 2010
John O'Reilly Insider Trading 16 April 2010
Geoffrey Newing Market Manipulation 18 March 2010
Mukesh Panchal Insider Trading 27 April 2009
Rocco Musumeci Market Manipulation 16 February 2009
Richard Wade Market Manipulation 16 February 2009


In all but one of these matters, the offenders were sentenced to terms of imprisonment. Five of these offenders served, or are currently serving, jail terms of between four months and three years.

2. Intensive Correction Orders were introduced recently in New South Wales and have replaced periodic detention as a sentencing option. An Intensive Correction Order can only be made when the offence is a serious one and a sentence of imprisonment up to two years is appropriate.

3. Further information about ASIC’s three outcomes for markets, including our deterrence of market misconduct, is outlined in
a speech given by ASIC Commissioner, Shane Tregillis, to the Stockbrokers Association of Australia Conference on 26 May 2011.

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ASIC

Wayne Swan delivers speech to New York Stock Exchange on Australia vs the GFC

by Hilary Kincaid 12. October 2010 11:11

We’ve got tough and effective regulators. And we didn’t suffer the financial market excesses of Europe and the US.

But it wasn’t only the strength of our banks. The Reserve Bank of Australia aggressively cut interest rates to emergency levels and the Government immediately put in place powerful fiscal stimulus to support jobs and growth. Our response was quick enough and big enough to not just arrest the decline in confidence, production and spending, but to turn them around.

We would not have done so well, however, without the benefits of the preceding decades of hardfought economic reforms. Reforms that opened our economy, improved the flexibility and efficiency of markets, and deepened linkages with our region.

From a speech entitled "The Australian Success Story", which sets out in broad terms the damage control strategies of the Rudd government and the future plans of the Gillard government. The Treasurer has some interesting things to say about the way forward for the mining industry:

So contrary to some of the debate you might be hearing, what we know is that Australia is about to embark on its biggest mining investment boom since the 1850s Gold Rush. This pushes us to pick up the pace of reform – to make Australia an even more attractive investment destination.

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Law reform

CDPP speech on the challenges of prosecuting human trafficking in Australia

by Hilary Kincaid 11. October 2010 11:20

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Craigie SC, has delivered a speech regarding the challenges of prosecuting human trafficking to the 15th conference of the International Association of Prosecutors in The Hague.

In the speech, the Director sets out Australia's obligations under international treaties and conventions in relation to the prosecution of human trafficking, sexual servitude and debt bondage.

The speech includes a case study of the prosecution, conviction and sentencing of Wei Tang, the first person to be convicted of sexual slavery in Australia. (See R v Wei Tang (2008) 237 CLR 1; 249 ALR 200; [2008] HCA 39). The speech reveals some of the practical difficulties of prosecuting cases of this nature, including:

  • the illegal and clandestine nature of the activity;
  • bridging cultural and linguistic barriers to trust between prosecuting authorities and victims;
  • not uncommonly, a related lack of co-operation of victims and witnesses with government authorities;
  • sometimes a quality of ambivalence or ambiguity in the nature of relationships between trafficker, trafficker client and victim; and
  • the shame and stigma felt by victims and attaching to prostitution and other aspects of human trafficking.

Taking action against human trafficking is part of LexisNexis' global corporate social responsibility initiatives. LexisNexis is committed to combating human trafficking by offering direct financial support and legal and technical advice to organisations working in the field to eradicate the illegal trade wherever it exists. For more information, please visit our corporate site.

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Rule of law

How ASIC will move forward

by Hilary Kincaid 9. September 2010 17:56

ASIC chair Tony D'Aloisio has outlined ASIC's agenda in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, delivered in Melbourne on 3 September.

He makes direct reference to the origins of the Corporations Act in the Campbell Committee and Wallis Inquiry, noting that they were heavily influenced by economic theories that can be grouped as the "Efficient markets hypothesis". Therefore, the object of the Corporations Act is to allow markets to operate with a minimum of interference, while permitting risk and allowing investors to price that risk.

Therefore, ASIC's role is necessarily one of oversight rather than control.

The full text of the speech makes interesting reading and is available on the official ASIC site.

 

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ASIC

D'Aloisio outlines ASIC policy regarding insider trading and market manipulation

by Hilary Kincaid 2. September 2010 09:48

ASIC has published a copy of the recent speech given by ASIC chairman Tony D'Aloisio at the Supreme Court of Victoria commercial law conference on 13 August 2010.

The speech is a clear summary of:

  • the policy behind enforcement - to maintain investor confidence;
  • the likely effect of the transfer of market supervision to ASIC;
  • how Australian markets are regarded internationally;
  • that ASIC generally considers criminal prosecution to be required for insider trading offences in order to maximise the deterrent effect; and
  • the evidence required for successful prosecution and the importance of acquiring that evidence.

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ASIC

Reserve Bank Assistant Governor quotes Jim Morrison

by Hilary Kincaid 1. September 2010 14:31

In a lecture delivered on Tuesday to the Risk Australia conference, Assistant Governor Guy Debelle probed the role of risk and uncertainty in the financial crisis.

As his quote from Jim Morrison reminds us, "the future's uncertain and the end is always near". (Another Doors lyric - "No one here gets out alive" also springs to mind.)

His speech spans risk, uncertainty, and the role of history in analysing the present. A copy is available on the official Reserve Bank site.  

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Reserve Bank



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