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Disappointment in financial institutions

Liberal Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, has urged the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to have more courage and will to prosecute rogue financial institutions.

Mr Ramsay has told the Victorian Parliament that his family is among the many impacted by the likes of AMP which has fallen foul of the current Banking Royal Commission.

“I am appalled at the lack of corporate responsibility by the board members of our banking institutions,” said Mr Ramsay.

“My family has been a generational customer of AMP going back to when it was a life insurance provident society, and I have continued to invest in AMP and place my trust in its financial advice.

“Not only has the AMP board now placed that company at risk, with numerous class actions foreshadowed and potential severe penalties to be applied, but it has also lost the people’s trust.

“I have not even had a letter of reassurance from them. And as for that, I partly blame our regulators.”

“The Commission has revealed not only illegal activity, but the insipid response of our regulator, ASIC.

However, Mr Ramsay said ASIC is only as good as the information it is given and AMP has either refused to provide that information or provided a doctored version.

“There is a problem when people sitting on committees that advise Boards are also sitting in advisory or directorial roles with ASIC.

“This sets up direct conflicts of interest.  It emboldens a lack of disclosure and a culture of coverup.

“The AMP example seems to indicate that there is a dire need for a separation of powers between advisory, governance and regulatory roles.

“ASIC must have a clear path to honesty and transparency.  But right now, that path is littered with well-placed corporate bollards.”

“Potentially due to the duplicitous engagement of individuals as both regulator and advisor –

ASIC has failed to use its powers to prosecute those engaged in cowboy corporate behaviour – behaviour that preyed on Australians who put their trust and money into the banking services.

“ASIC has let us down, and in my mind, should equally come under the spotlight. It has more powers to prosecute and apply penalties, but it needs the courage to do so and step up.

“Talk about a regulator that has been a toothless tiger.”