APRA’s action against IOOF shows the regulatory tide has turned

The series of APRA court actions against IOOF tell you the regulatory tide has turned. Welcome to a new era in regulatory oversight where companies that stall and obfuscate will be brought to account.

Gone are the days when APRA would have politely called Kelaher and asked him to review an APRA press release giving IOOF a slap on the wrist.

Likely flood of court cases

It is a similar story at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which got too cosy with the people and companies it regulated.

Now, executives in the securities markets who want to push the boundaries of the law will find themselves on the receiving end of Section 19 notices, which allow ASIC to compel people to appear for private interviews.

When ASIC chairman James Shipton and his fellow Sydney-based commissioners hosted Christmas drinks for journalists in Sydney this week the talk of the night was the likely flood of court cases in the year ahead.

The appointment of Karen Chester as a new ASIC deputy chairman, replacing Peter Kell, will put some extra steel in the regulator’s ranks.

Both ASIC and APRA should take a leaf out of the Rod Sims playbook at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. He has never been afraid to use the courts to bring wayward companies to account.

Tony Boyd

tony.boyd@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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