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Analysis and Comment (30)

Woolworths' attempt to takeover David Jones has raised questions about whether shareholder approval should be mandatory. Woolworths' attempt to takeover David Jones has raised questions about whether shareholder approval should be mandatory. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

Takeovers should require go-ahead from shareholders

The fastest growing sector in the economy today is not mining, retailing or even education. It’s superannuation, which accounts for almost 30% more than the total savings held by the banking and mutual…
The spotlight is on the David Murray’s Financial System inquiry following a report critical of the Commonwealth Bank and Australia’s corporate regulator. The spotlight is on the David Murray’s Financial System inquiry following a report critical of the Commonwealth Bank and Australia’s corporate regulator. AAP/Joel Carrett

No Royal Commission; but banks not too big to be held to account

The Senate inquiry in the actions of the Commonwealth Bank and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission has drawn a line in the sand, holding the banks and financial advisers to account for…
The Commonwealth Bank and ASIC may face a Royal Commission. The Commonwealth Bank and ASIC may face a Royal Commission. AAP/Dan Peled

Call for Commonwealth Bank, ASIC to face Royal Commission

A senate inquiry has called for the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) and Australia’s corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), to be investigated by a Royal Commission. The…
ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer has this week faced the scrutiny of a Senate committee hearing. ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer has this week faced the scrutiny of a Senate committee hearing. AAP/Paul Miller

Low penalties, high costs: ASIC needs legislative reform

In 2005, the Federal Court faced the difficult task of arriving at a penalty for Steve Vizard after he was found in breach of his duties as a director of Telstra. In his judgment, Raymond Finkelstein criticised…
ASIC warns: forex currency trading requires a high degree of skill, and consumers should be aware of the risks and potential for loss. ASIC warns: forex currency trading requires a high degree of skill, and consumers should be aware of the risks and potential for loss. Image of finance chart with sell/buy dice from www.shutterstock.com

Gambling on the dollar: time to reign in forex trading

With the value of the Australian dollar falling more than 10 cents in the past few months, should we all be hedging our bets and trading the Aussie for a fast profit? There’s no shortage of foreign currency…
Simplifying the disclosure required for employee share schemes will be welcomed by companies, but employees still need to read the fine print. Simplifying the disclosure required for employee share schemes will be welcomed by companies, but employees still need to read the fine print. jeff_golden/Flickr

Read the fine print on simpler employee share schemes

The implementation of employee share schemes could be expanded and the red tape surrounding them relaxed under policy reforms being considered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. While…
Former Gunns chairman John Gay is the most senior executive to have been convicted of insider trading in Australia. He received a fine of $50,000. Former Gunns chairman John Gay is the most senior executive to have been convicted of insider trading in Australia. He received a fine of $50,000. David Beniuk/AAP

Insider trading gets more scrutiny, but convictions may not flow

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is moving to “real-time” monitoring of share trading as another weapon in the ongoing fight against insider trading. But will the use of this form of…
Health insurance infomediary iSelect saw a 15% decline in its share price immediately after listing on the ASX in June. Health insurance infomediary iSelect saw a 15% decline in its share price immediately after listing on the ASX in June. AAP/Paul Miller

Floats and expectations: what the market can learn from iSelect’s troubled IPO

Insurance infomediary iSelect lost its chief executive this week, just four months after the company went public, and less than two years into the role. iSelect blamed the resignation on a “difference…
While ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft this week warned the Australian funds management industry to clean up their act, in the UK, financial regulators will soon have the power to intervene directly in the market. While ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft this week warned the Australian funds management industry to clean up their act, in the UK, financial regulators will soon have the power to intervene directly in the market. AAP

ASIC lacks bite as UK regulators chew down on financial spruikers

In opening the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) forum this week, chairman Greg Medcraft pulled no punches. “Manufacturers [i.e. banks and financial institutions] - and, frankly, this…
Are the algorithms used in high frequency trading a threat to the markets themselves? ASIC says the danger is “overstated” but the FBI and the SEC have joined forces. Are the algorithms used in high frequency trading a threat to the markets themselves? ASIC says the danger is “overstated” but the FBI and the SEC have joined forces. AAP

The rise of the machines: High Frequency Trading and dark pools

In language that is more in keeping with hackers and crime syndicates, the Financial Times reported last week that the FBI was going to assist securities regulators in the US to tackle “dark pools” and…
As the ABC’s Four Corners explored, small investors are being caught in an unregulated investment market, often with devastating results. Has the corporate regulator dropped the ball - or is it juggling too many? As the ABC’s Four Corners explored, small investors are being caught in an unregulated investment market, often with devastating results. Has the corporate regulator dropped the ball - or is it juggling too many? ABC Four Corners

As casualties pile up, has our investment sector become too big to regulate properly?

Stephen Long’s story last night on the ABC’s Four Corners beautifully illustrated the human cost of financial misconduct, as retirees and widows described the pain of having lost their super funds and…
The Whitehaven Coal hoax showed changes to continuous disclosure guidelines to address the role of social media and trading halts are needed, but the guidelines are not without their problems. The Whitehaven Coal hoax showed changes to continuous disclosure guidelines to address the role of social media and trading halts are needed, but the guidelines are not without their problems. AAP

Continuous disclosure: social media and the two sides to trading halts

In a fragile world and with a particularly fragile share market, Australia’s corporate regulators have seen their role in policing the area of continuous disclosure multiply. Disclosure requirements are…
How will ASIC cope with the pressure it’s under to punish coal hoaxer Jonathan Moylan? How will ASIC cope with the pressure it’s under to punish coal hoaxer Jonathan Moylan? State Records NSW

ASIC and the great coal hoax

Will anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan receive justice if he is charged over his hoax? ASIC, which will formally interview Moylan next week, is under enormous pressure to “make an example” of the 24-year…
Old methods of protest are looking distinctly shabby in the face of climate change. Now activists are making it harder for miners to do business. Old methods of protest are looking distinctly shabby in the face of climate change. Now activists are making it harder for miners to do business. Paul Miller/AAP

ANZ imposter takes up new climate tactic

Yesterday an anti-coal activist, Jonathan Moylan issued a media release purportedly from the ANZ Bank withdrawing a $1.2 billion loan to Whitehaven Coal, which is developing a project in Maules Creek in…
A suggestion from ASIC chief Greg Medcraft that investors should be tested on their knowledge of risky investments acknowledges standard product disclosure statements tend to be ignored. A suggestion from ASIC chief Greg Medcraft that investors should be tested on their knowledge of risky investments acknowledges standard product disclosure statements tend to be ignored. AAP

Testing investor mettle and consumer protection

It seems that ASIC’s Christmas present to investors is to get them to undertake an exam to see if they really know what is in the product disclosure statements that they agree to. Well, not exactly, but…
The growth in high-frequency trading and the changing nature of dark liquidity in equities markets have prompted ASIC to release new rules for market integrity. The growth in high-frequency trading and the changing nature of dark liquidity in equities markets have prompted ASIC to release new rules for market integrity. AAP

Making sense of ASIC’s new rules on dark liquidity and high-frequency trading

The Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation recently announced new ASIC Market Integrity Rules to address the growth in automated trading and the changing nature of dark liquidity in equities…
After the High Court case involving ASIC and Fortescue Metals, the ASX has released a Guidance Note that provides more clarification on continuous disclosure for listed companies. After the High Court case involving ASIC and Fortescue Metals, the ASX has released a Guidance Note that provides more clarification on continuous disclosure for listed companies. AAP

ASX makes a timely revision to continuous disclosure guidelines

Investor confidence is an obvious imperative of corporate legislation. Section 674 of the Corporations Act, which requires disclosure of information concerning securities that is not generally available…
Relieved: Fortescue Metals Chairman Andrew Forrest wins his High Court appeal - but the message to ASIC is the need for greater transparency. Relieved: Fortescue Metals Chairman Andrew Forrest wins his High Court appeal - but the message to ASIC is the need for greater transparency. AAP

Sharp message to ASIC as Forrest wins High Court appeal

Fortescue Metals Chairman Andrew Forrest can breathe a huge sigh of relief after winning his High Court appeal against a Federal Court finding that might have seen him banned as a company director. The…
As high frequency trading and dark pools worry Australian regulators, can a market be too fluid? As high frequency trading and dark pools worry Australian regulators, can a market be too fluid? AAP

Could high frequency trading lead to our own ‘flash crash’?

The dangers of massive high frequency trading are becoming increasingly clear in equity markets. Greg Medcraft, the chairman of corporate regulator ASIC, confirmed to a Federal parliamentary committee…
An extraordinary attack on ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft this week will do much to weaken confidence in the efficacy of the financial architecture, without any obvious potential upside. An extraordinary attack on ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft this week will do much to weaken confidence in the efficacy of the financial architecture, without any obvious potential upside.

Attack on ASIC chief draws corporate governance into political mire

The attack on the authority, integrity and judgement of the chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Greg Medcraft, by the shadow minister for financial services and superannuation…
James Packer’s raid on Echo Entertainment has put Australia’s takeover laws under the spotlight. James Packer’s raid on Echo Entertainment has put Australia’s takeover laws under the spotlight. AAP

ASIC’s review of creep provisions puts corporate raiders on notice

It’s been an interesting time for Australia’s corporate watchdog. Financial manoeuvres by Gina Rinehart and James Packer, which saw them increase their holdings in Fairfax Media and Echo Entertainment…
The circumstances surrounding EB Private Equity’s takeover bid for David Jones were highly unusual. The circumstances surrounding EB Private Equity’s takeover bid for David Jones were highly unusual. AAP

DJs takeover farce highlights issues surrounding continuous disclosure

It’s been an extraordinary week for upmarket retailer David Jones. Last Friday, the company announced that it had received a $1.65 billion takeover bid from UK firm EB Private Equity, and its shares rose…
ASIC has grabbed the international corporate regulatory spotlight - so why aren’t we celebrating? ASIC has grabbed the international corporate regulatory spotlight - so why aren’t we celebrating? Flckr/Dan Brady

Why has ASIC’s turn on the global stage been ignored?

The election of Australia’s top corporate regulator Greg Medcraft to the chairmanship of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions has received nowhere near the prominence it deserves. Aside…
ASIC has scored a major victory with a High Court decision against James Hardie non-executive directors. ASIC has scored a major victory with a High Court decision against James Hardie non-executive directors. AAP

The Hardie judgement: Muscling up ASIC

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has secured a major victory in its ongoing battle to enforce the efficacy of the continuous disclosure regime here as well as its standing as…
Recent ASIC enforcement action against Leighton and the Commonwealth Bank appear mostly symbolic. Recent ASIC enforcement action against Leighton and the Commonwealth Bank appear mostly symbolic. AAP

The limits of discretion: ASIC action against Leighton and CBA more symbolism than substance

Two apparently successful negotiated prosecutions do not a successful strategy make. The outline of a flexing of agency discretion within the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has…
The audit profession has been blamed for contributing to major corporate collapses, the global financial crisis and most recently, the Greek debt crisis. The audit profession has been blamed for contributing to major corporate collapses, the global financial crisis and most recently, the Greek debt crisis. AAP

Europe considers tighter audit reins, but Australian experience indicates need to be wary

The audit profession has received consistently bad press in recent years. Audit independence, or rather the lack of it, has been blamed as a contributing factor in some of the major corporate collapses…
The proposed Volcker Rule, which will ban proprietary trading by commercial banks, has raised the ire of Wall Street. The proposed Volcker Rule, which will ban proprietary trading by commercial banks, has raised the ire of Wall Street. Bête à Bon-Dieu

Risks or rewards? What the Volcker Rule means for Wall Street

The agenda of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Annual Summer School in Sydney was dominated by discussions on how to reduce systemic risk. The noted increase in the regulatory perimeter…
Founder of Storm Financial, Emmanuel Cassimatis, speaks before a parliamentary inquiry. Founder of Storm Financial, Emmanuel Cassimatis, speaks before a parliamentary inquiry. AAP

Financial advice reform: have we learned enough from Storm?

When financial planning firm Storm Financial collapsed with $3 billion in investment losses, many of its investors were left destitute. A parliamentary joint committee inquiry into the company’s demise…
Insider trading detection in Australia has evolved, but ASIC still needs a win. Insider trading detection in Australia has evolved, but ASIC still needs a win. AAP

Hanlong insider trading case will test ASIC’s resolve

Five senior executives of the Chinese-owned investor Hanlong Mining have had assets frozen after the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) launched an investigation into alleged insider…

Research and News (1)