The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has revealed there has been a 129% increase in wealth management investigations over the past 14 months under its enhanced, post-Royal Commission regulatory approach.
ASIC commissioner John Price said the corporate regulator enforcement investigations increased 15% between February 2018 and March 2018. Enforcement investigations involving large firms (or their officers or subsidiaries) increased 65% over the year while investigations into wealth management increased 129%.
Price echoed earlier ASIC explanations around its "why not litigate" approach claiming it was very different to a "litigate first" or "litigate everything" strategy.
"A 'why not litigate?' approach does not mean that enforcement action will become the sole item in our regulatory toolkit"
"A 'why not litigate?' approach does not mean that enforcement action will become the sole item in our regulatory toolkit. But it does mean we have adopted a rigorous approach to deciding which tool is the right one, bearing in mind: the need to deter future misconduct and community expectations that wrongdoing be pursued and punished through the courts," he said.
The commissioner said that the strategy meant that court action was likely once ASIC was satisfied that breaches of the law are more likely than not, and it was evident from the facts of the case that the pursuit of the matter would be in the public interest.
Price also gave an update of its new supervisory approaches - including the corporate governance taskforce and continuous monitoring of large financial services.
"Under our close and continuous monitoring program we have already conducted around 200 onsite interviews with banking staff at all levels to gain first hand insights into systems, practices and culture," the Financial Standard reported.