ASIC promises lawsuits against banks by end of 2019

ASIC promises lawsuits against banks by end of 2019

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will file lawsuits against some of the country’s biggest financial institutions by the end of the year.

ASIC Deputy Chair Daniel told the Australian Financial Review on Monday that the regulator has “a very large number of investigations on foot and there will be cases being issued in coming weeks, which are the result of those investigations.”

In a report published on Sunday, ASIC said it intends to hire additional staff to investigate, “and where necessary litigate against, market, corporate and financial sector misconduct.”

ASIC has reported an increase in enforcement investigations by 20% over the 2018–19 financial year, with a 50% increase in investigations involving the “big six” retail lenders — the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank, ANZ, the Macquarie Group and AMP.

Proceedings against the “big six” will be issued before Christmas, Mr Crennan said in a separate interview with The Australian on Monday.

The announcement comes within weeks of the regulator reporting an increase in its active investigations.

Regulators have faced increased pressure to more thoroughly scrutinise the activities of major lenders after the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry found lenders knowingly sold products to borrowers who could not afford them, and often charged hidden fees without providing services.

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