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Financial Services Minister backs placing ASIC agents into big banks

ASIC’s new chairman James Shipton is seeking extra funds to embed specialist supervisors into the big banks, a move Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer is backing.

Mr Shipton says the move would help to tackle the misconduct that’s come to light during the Royal Commission.

Ms O’Dwyer tells Ross Greenwood ASIC’s new boss was hired to improve the Commission’s enforcement activity, and that’s what will happen.

“We said to him we wanted him to increase the enforcement activity of ASIC, we wanted to make sure they conducted better surveillance, we wanted them to increase their capacity as a regulator.

“We wanted them to be seen, not only as a tough cop on the beat, but to actually live that through their action.”

The Finance Minister also assures Ross the big banks have begun putting money into a promised consumer protection fund.

Commonwealth Bank, NAB and ANZ agreed to pay their penalties for rate-rigging into the fund six months ago but hadn’t as of two weeks ago.

Ms O’Dwyer says ANZ and NAB have made their $20 million payments and the Commonwealth Bank isn’t far behind with their $15 million sum.

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The Financial Services Minister has also assured Ross the government will be acting to prevent criminals from hiding assets inside their super funds.

The action comes after former Bega Cheese CEO Maurice Van Ryn, who will serve at least seven years behind bars for more than a decade of child sex offenses, was able to conceal his assets in superannuation and avoid compensating his victims.

“We don’t think that’s right,” Ms O’Dwyer says.

“In the ordinary course of events, somebody who might take civil action against a perpetrator would be able to get access to someone’s assets if they weren’t sitting in a superannuation account.

“We’ve said, we believe it’s important to make changes so that… victims get access to the accounts of those people who have perpetrated such crimes so that they can be properly compensated and put back on their feet.”