ASIC boss on the "blight" in the financial-services sector

ASIC boss on the "blight" in the financial-services sector | Insurance Business

ASIC boss on the "blight" in the financial-services sector

If there is one word that recurs in the Hayne royal commission’s interim report into misconduct in the financial-services industry, it would be “dishonesty.”

This was what James Shipton, chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), told a finance-industry conference in Sydney on Thursday.

Shipton said the word “dishonest” is “the diagnosis on our industry – it is a blight,” as he urged the industry to “have a single aim and that is… a fair, strong, and efficient financial-services sector for all Australians,” Canberra Times reported.

“If we embrace the concept [that the industry manages] other people’s money, then hopefully we can get away from this horrible diagnosis of dishonesty to a diagnosis of professionalism,” the ASIC boss said.

Shipton did not comment on the criticisms made by Commissioner Kenneth Hayne in the interim report released last month, which largely blamed ASIC and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) for being too close to the banks and not taking them to court.

The sentiment was shared by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who said even before the interim report was released that both regulators had a “case to answer” over scandals exposed by the inquiry.

“We have to reclaim that first line responsibility of ensuring that we have fair, efficient, and honest conduct in our industry – that is an obligation on you [under the law],” Shipton told the conference. “Regulation cannot be the sole solution, it has to be coming from the industry itself.”

Shipton said it was the responsibility of all 450,000 people who worked in the financial-services industry to rebuild trust with the community – because after all, “as much we want to be everywhere, as much as we want to right every wrong, we can’t be everywhere all the time,” Canberra Times reported.