Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) today published its enforcement report for the period July 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, outlining key results of its enforcement activities and areas of focus for the future.
Retail margin Forex trading, as well as poor organisational culture in the financial services industry, are amid the key focus areas for the Australian regulator.
In the report, ASIC notes that there has been a rise in the number of businesses seeking an Australian financial services (AFS) licence to set up and operate a retail margin FX broker business in Australia, many with the ultimate objective of operating in the Asian marketplace. Forex trading often involves leverage and is potentially risky.
The Australian watchdog says it is undertaking proactive surveillance activities to ensure that FX brokers are meeting their AFS licence requirements, and continues to educate retail investors about the risks associated with FX trading.
The regulator is focusing on FX brokers that are not adequately disclosing the risks of trades to their clients, as well as ensuring that they are capable of managing their own risks and any conflicts of interest.
Regarding ASIC’s enforcement activities for the last six months of 2015, the highlights include:
- securing $149 million in compensation and remediation for consumers and investors;
- removal of 27 individuals from financial services;
- laying 42 criminal charges;
- charging six persons in criminal proceedings;
- issuing 20 infringement notices;
- commencing105 investigations;
- completing 86 investigations.
ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said,
‘ASIC does everything in its power to detect and take action against those who break the law, to ensure consumers can have trust and confidence in our financial markets and financial services industry. This report highlights our strong recent enforcement record and ongoing areas of focus.’
You can view the full ASIC report by clicking here.