The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released its first report detailing its enforcement actions for the period 1 July to 31 December 2011.

The report outlines categories of gatekeepers against whom ASIC has taken action including financial advisers, responsible entities, credit licensees, market participants, directors, company officers, insolvency practitioners and auditors.

ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft said, ‘Broadly, there are four principles of conduct gatekeepers must observe. They must display honesty by respecting other people’s property and not using a position of trust for self-advantage; diligence by applying due care and skill to advice or decision making; competence by meeting any applicable conduct, licensing, registration and training obligations; and independence by managing conflicts of interest appropriately.”

‘When gatekeepers do not demonstrate these behaviours, we act. We are committed to tracking down and punishing wrongdoers and deterring further misconduct. No one is beyond the law, and we have the resources to take on the big cases where it is in the public interest to do so,’ he said.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released a report on exchange traded funds, outlining how the growing industry is regulated in Australia and the impact if proposed international principles to address concerns by overseas regulators. 

The Queensland Government has announced it has appointed Peter Costello as the head of the Independent Commission of Audit into the state’s finances.

The latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows an in increase job vacancies by 0.7 per cent in February, showing a turn around from a previous spate of declines.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Assistant Govenor, Guy Debelle, has hit out at the country’s banks for raising interest rates to shield their profits from increased borrowing costs during the global financial crisis.

The Federal Government has released an exposure draft of proposed amendments that will implement the first stage of reforms to transfer pricing.

The Federal Government has  released a second exposure draft of legislation implementing the first stage of the Investment Manager Regime (IMR). The first exposure draft was released on 16 August 2011.

Banking and finance law specialist Ros Grady has been appointed as the inaugural Chief Executive of the Centre for International Finance and Regulation (CIFR), a consortium of leading Australian and international universities and research centres. She will take up her appointment on March 19.

AMP has invested in Futuro Financial Services, a financial services business with 80 financial advisers, 58 practices and approximately $2 billion in funds under advice.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has announced it has decided to leave the country’s official cash rate unchanged at 4.25 per cent.

The Federal Government has announced it will host a new Business Advisory Forum, with CEO’s from the nation’s largest companies joining state, territory and Federal leaders to advise on deregulation.

Federal Minister for Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans, has urged greater investment in Australian science and research, saying that it is key to driving higher productivity and forging a strong and sustainable economy.


In a keynote address to the Science Meets Superannuation summit in Melbourne, Senator Evans said it was important to create partnerships between the science and research industry, universities and the private sector.
“We have enormous potential sitting right here on our doorstep,” Senator Evans said.


“We need to encourage investment partnerships between business and the science and research communities.

“We need to make sure the innovative research and ideas coming from Australia are developed and capitalised here.

“Boosting investment in science and research will ensure opportunities created right here at home don’t slip from our grasp.

Senator Evans said the Government was committed to ensuring world class Australian science and research by encouraging greater investment across the board.

“Getting more investors on board in the early stages of the innovation cycle will help strengthen the pre-commercialisation phases of research and development,” Senator Evans said.

“The superannuation sector provides a great model for further investment opportunities, given its strong track record of investing in privately-managed venture capital funds and commercialisation partnerships with universities.

“An investment of half a per cent of Superannuation Funds into science and research would amount to a staggering $6.5 billion. That is a huge investment into furthering Australia’s competitiveness in the knowledge-based economy of the 21st century.



Westpac has announced it will shed up to 126 jobs from its Australian operations, with the Financial Services Union  (FSU) claiming the bank plans to offshore the 119 technology roles and 7 collection roles.

There is considerable doubt the Reserve Bank has got its current economic settings right and it should consider cutting interest rates by at least 25 basis points, according to the Shadow Reserve Bank (Shadow RBA) board.

A new debt clock that shows the credit card debt in Australia has been included on ASIC's MoneySmart website.

Australians have over $36 billion owing on credit cards where interest is being charged, an average of $4,700 per card holder. Credit card debt peaks in the first quarter of each year after Christmas spending.

MoneySmart’s Delia Rickard said, ‘People don’t always see paying off their credit card debt as a priority. In fact, paying off your credit card debt should be a top priority for millions of Australians. Pay off as much as you can afford, as quickly as possible.

‘If you have $4,700 credit card debt (the national average) and only make the minimum repayments, it will take 49 years to pay it off and cost you around $14,600 in interest. But if you are able to pay off $250 each month, you’d pay off your debt in two years and save $13,700 in interest.

At a typical interest rate of 15 to 20% the average person is paying around $800 in interest per year, much more than that for some people. Ms Rickard said, ‘There are a million things you’d rather spend $800 on than credit card interest. Start working off the interest now so you can spend that unseen money on things you really want.

ANZ has announced it has received a Retail Renminbi (RMB) licence from the China banking Regulator Commission, allowing the compant to offer a range of RMB-related products and services to Chinese consumers.

Rice Warner Actuaries has announced the appointment of Mark Blair as a Principal of Rice Warner and Head of Superannuation.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services  is to undertake an inquiry into the provisions of the Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Trustee Obligations and Prudential Standards) Bill 2012.

The Productivity Commission has released its Default Superannuation Funds in Modern Awards inquiry issues paper, which intends to assist the public in preparing a submission to the Commission.

 AMP Capital and Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation (MUTB) have completed the transaction that forms the strategic business and capital alliance between them.

ANZ has announced appointments to the senior leadership team for its combined Global Institutional and Asia Pacific Europe and America (APEA) Division, reporting to Divisional CEO Alex Thursby.

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