Low angle view of skyscrapers into the sky, perth, Western Australia.

The country’s major financial intuitions remain firmly in the sights of the securities regulator, with 86 of the 88 enforcement investigations currently under way involving the big-four banks, AMP and their subsidiaries, ASIC has revealed.

While there has been talk of ASIC focusing its investigations on the smaller end of town, ie licensees and self-licensed advisers, the regulator’s latest implementation update shows this shift in focus away from the big end of town hasn’t played out yet.

Of the matters currently before the courts, though, two relate to smaller licensees including Select AFSLs and Dover – both of these instances were referrals from the Hayne royal commission, ASIC has noted.

In all, ASIC has four matters before the court and 17 case studies of investigations under review to determine if enforcement action in available.

ASIC’s implementation update coincides with a Bill passing through the House of Representatives on Tuesday to end grandfathered commissions at the start of 2021, a plan industry representative bodies have lobbied hard against.

While the grandfathered commissions ban Bill has been making the rounds in Canberra, ASIC has been probing licensees for their data relating to how they intend to cut off grandfathered remuneration.

ASIC has begun to expedite the finalisation of all of its enforcement actions through the “strategic use” of the increased funding from Government, the regulator revealed on Wednesday.

“We are focusing on accelerating all of our enforcement outcomes,” it stated.

In the year to the end of July ASIC reported it had increased the number of its enforcement investigations by 20 per cent, increased enforcement investigations involving the six major financial institutions by 55 per cent and increased its wealth management investigations by 216 per cent.

Smith is head of content and managing editor of Professional Planner and Investment Magazine.
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