ASIC releases enforcement report for H2 2014 – Retail FX high on regulator’s list of priorities

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) today released its latest six-monthly enforcement report, detailing outcomes achieved between 1 July 2014 and 31 December 2014.

ASIC achieved 348 enforcement outcomes. This included criminal as well as civil and administrative (e.g. banning or disqualification) actions, and negotiated outcomes, including enforceable undertakings.

These outcomes were achieved across the financial services, market integrity, corporate governance and small business areas. The report highlights ASIC’s ongoing focus on tackling serious corporate fraud and loan fraud and ASIC’s use of civil penalty proceedings to enforce the law.

With regard to specific actions relating to the retail FX industry, ASIC has been actively scrutinizing various FX companies over recent months, a matter that was initially reported by LeapRate which manifested itself in new applications for an AFS license to operate in Australia having been somewhat delayed compared to AFS license applications for firms operating in other industry sectors. Following LeapRate’s report to this effect, ASIC issued a warning to investors on the potential pitfalls of margin FX, and canceled the licenses of Monarch FX, and Global Derivative Services, as well as having publicized concerns which resulted in Pepperstone exiting the Japanese market.

The second half of 2014 also saw ASIC put an end to the business activities of trading software provider Aussie Rob, whose Lifestyle Trader system became the subject of regulatory disapproval in October.

“ASIC investigates serious white collar crime. We have recently completed several significant enforcement actions after detecting serious fraud by company directors and officers, committed against the companies they serve and the investing public. These results demonstrate that for those who steal and deceive the consequences are great.’ ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said.

“Current and future areas of focus for ASIC include loan fraud, financial market benchmark rates, illegal phoenix activity and retail margin foreign exchange trading. We expect to achieve noteworthy outcomes as a result of this work” concluded Mr. Tanzer.

The full enforcement report can be viewed by clicking here.

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