ASIC has detailed the level of activity it undertook in enforcement during the second half of 2020, with civil penalties totalling $159.8 million for the period amid a host of other actions.
According to the H2 enforcement update released by ASIC the bill was driven by the corporate regulator’s two largest ever civil penalty outcomes actions: $57.5 million levied against two NAB subsidiaries for fees-for-no-service misconduct and $75 million charged to OTC derivatives provider AGM Markets for “systemic unconscionable conduct”.
“The outcomes of these cases send a clear message to all industries – consumers must be treated fairly and misconduct that results in significant consumer harm will be strongly punished,” ASIC stated.
The regulator increased its civil penalty proceedings 64 per cent between 2018 and 2020, while criminal proceedings ramped up 36 per cent.
A total of 194 criminal charges were laid in the period and 27 individuals were charged in criminal proceedings. 22 individuals were removed or restricted from providing financial services or credit while 28 individuals were disqualified or removed from directing companies.
“ASIC will continue to act against misconduct that threatens the integrity of Australia’s financial system and markets. This includes pursuing matters that attempt to exploit the pandemic environment or that hinder recovery from it,” the regulator warned.