ASIC’s inquiry into IOOF

On 8 July 2016, ASIC made a media release about an inquiry that it has conducted into IOOF.  The inquiry seems to have uncovered a multiplicity of issues.  However, what is strange is that no enforcement action is being taken – no enforceable undertaking, no licence conditions and no banning actions.

A constant issue that I have seen in my work over many years is the disconnect between the law as it is written (in the Corporations Act) and its enforcement – the law is either not enforced at all or it is enforced in an inconsistent manner.

The reason behind this disconnect is that ASIC is grossly under-resourced.  Parliament can pass all of the laws that it wants but this is a pointless exercise unless it is also willing to appropriate sufficient funds to have a properly resourced corporate regulator.   In this regard, my concern about the proposed Royal Commission is that its outcome will be the making of more laws in circumstances where there are not sufficient resources available to enforce (what are in my view, the entirely sufficient) laws that are already in place.

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