Now APRA May Pursue the Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Okay, so I was wrong. Although I hate to admit it, I was not factually correct in my earlier post about the AML/CTF issues dogging the CBA. In my piece on 14 August 2017, I noted the fact that a second regulator - ASIC, was following in AUSTRAC’s footsteps. Why have one when you can have two? I said.

Today, APRA announced that it too is establishing an independent prudential enquiry into the CBA.

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Now ASIC May Pursue the Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Why have one when you can have two? That is not an unreasonable expectation when your favourite cricket team has just hit a six off the penultimate ball of the innings to get within five runs of victory. Or when, as a struggling university graduate, you receive two great job offers on consecutive days.

However, the same cannot be said of the CBA. Less than two weeks ago, AUSTRAC announced that it had initiated civil proceedings against CBA in regard to serious and systemic issues relating to alleged contraventions of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act (Cth) 2006. This involved the use of Intelligent Deposit Machines - a type of ATM which accepts cash deposits (amongst other things).

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2GB’s Chris Smith, Alex Malley and Me

Chris Smith is a highly successful broadcaster on 2GB. He pretty much owns the afternoon timeslot and his success cannot be just brushed aside because you may take issue with some of his positions

In any event, following the disintegration of my BS meter after listening to one particular podcast which was choked full of fawning and kowtowing, I decided to write to Chris kindly informing him of Alex Malley’s public record.

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Where To Now For CPA Australia

CPA Australia only has itself to blame. Only a miracle on par with Moses parting the Red Sea will not prevent CPA public practice members losing additional protection from malpractice lawsuits from 8 October 2017.

The Professional Standards Council has confirmed that its professional standards scheme, which limits the liability of participants who are members of an appropriate industry organisation, will not be renewed before it expires on 7 October 2017. The consequences of this are that many public practice members will see an increase in their Professional Indemnity insurance premiums and be exposed to unlimited liability for negligence.

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ASIC Limited Licence Checks

Following the cessation of the accountants’ exemption, self-managed superannuation funds (“SMSFs”) became a financial product under the licensing provisions of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (“the Act”). From 30 June 2016, those accountants wishing to provide advisory and dealing services in regard to SMSFs needed to either obtain an Australian Financial Services (“AFS”) Licence, or be appointed as an Authorised Representative of another licensee.

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ASIC Review on Licensees Which Hold Assets

ASIC has released the findings of a report following a review of compliance procedures by those licensees with asset holding obligations imposed by ASIC Regulatory Guide (“RG”) 133 Managed Investments and Custodial or Depository Services: Holding Assets.

The safekeeping of clients’ funds and property (assets) is a critical functionality in the financial services sector. The conduct of such participants has a direct correlation on the level of investor trust and confidence in the financial system as a whole.

 

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Joint Operation Between ASIC and FWO

The Fair Work Ombudsman and ASIC will audit 50 businesses in the Melbourne CBD and inner suburbs in their second joint operation.

On 20 and 21 June 2017, Fair Work inspectors will be checking time and wage records to ensure employers are paying their workers correctly and complying with pay slip and record-keeping requirements.

Concurrently, ASIC analysts will be conducting site visits to raise awareness of the role of ASIC and the tools and resources that are available to assist small businesses with their compliance obligations.

For further information, click here.

Should you have any queries about ASIC or other issues involving compliance, licensing, or corporate governance, please contact Jeremy Danon, director of Ariel & Associates Pty Ltd on (02) 8223 3355 or at jeremy@ariel.associates.

ASIC - A New Funding Model

For some time now, ASIC has floated the idea of having a user pay system in regard to financial service licensees. This has been in response to the never ending chorus of insufficient resources due to a lack of funding.

The Australian Government conceived the idea of such a model in April 2016 (following a recommendation from the Murray Financial System Inquiry) whereby those entities who created the need for and benefited from financial services regulation would fund ASIC.

ASIC heralded the passage of the ASIC Supervisory Cost Recovery Levy Bill 2017 (Cth) and its related bills through the Australian Senate on 15 June 2017 with ASIC Chairman, Mr Greg Medcraft noting that the bill enjoyed support across the political spectrum.

From 1 July 2017, ASIC’s regulatory costs will be funded by industry participants through the imposition of annual levies.

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ASIC Report on Registered Funds

ASIC has today released the findings of a surveillance review into the registered managed investment schemes sector. In all, ASIC’s review included 28 Responsible Entities across 336 schemes - which represented about 9% of all current schemes.

A Responsible Entity is the body corporate responsible for the management and operation of a registered managed investment scheme - that is a scheme which maintains retail clients. On top of its general obligations as a licensee, a Responsible Manager is also subject to:

  • Acting in the best interest of the scheme’s members.

  • Ensuring compliance with the scheme’s compliance plan.

  • Ensuring the scheme property is clearly identified and held separately from property from other schemes or from the Responsible Entity itself.

  • Holding the scheme property on trust.

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