The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has asked parliament for increased powers and has called for lawbreakers to be hit with tougher sentences.
Yesterday, chairman of ASIC Greg Medcraft told a Senate inquiry into the performance of ASIC that the regulator wanted to clean up the financial advice industry.
Mr Medcraft said ASIC wanted greater licensing powers, including the ability to ban people from managing a financial services business.
He also called for ASIC to be handed stronger investigative powers and for something to be done about the “inadequacy of penalties” for wrongdoers.
“There is an expectation among the public that we will take strong action against wrongdoers – and doing this will send a message that shapes future behaviour,” he said.
“It is frustrating – both for us and the public – when the penalty available to respond to misconduct is much less than the profit someone made in the process.”
Mr Medcraft said corporate collapses were an inevitable part of Australia’s financial system, but that ASIC did everything it could to protect the public.
“While loss can never be entirely removed from financial markets, we work hard to enforce the law and deal with misconduct that puts investors at risk,” he said.
“We also work hard to help consumers and investors make appropriate choices in their dealings with financial services providers.”