ASIC head lashes out at media

by |
Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman Greg Medcraft has posted two videos on Youtube defending himself, ASIC and his travel as International Organisation of Securities Commissions chair.

“Recent media reports have tried to cast doubt on ASIC's good work and smear our staff and culture. These reports coincide with the Senate enquiry into our performance,” Medcraft said in the video.  

ASIC is being scrutinised over its handling of a string of corporate collapses and financial scandals, including the misconduct of at least seven financial planners employed by the Commonwealth Bank.

The Senate Inquiry into ASIC's operations and performance has received more than 200 submissions, many of which were highly critical.

But ASIC’s “excellent staff” has done “much to be proud of”, providing the Senate Inquiry with three submissions outlining what good has been done as well as what can be improved, Medcraft said.

“Here are a few stats to just reflect on some of our work. In the last three years ASIC has completed over 4,000 surveillances and 554 investigations. We’ve banned 168 people. We’ve completed 73 civil and 79 criminal proceedings.

“And most critically and crucially, we’ve obtained 349 million in compensation for investors and consumers.”

ASIC will be fronting up to the senate enquiry and answer every question posed, Medcraft said.

“We welcome the enquiry and all the submissions people have made. We’ve read them and we want to use this information to do a better job. Enquiries like this are all part of our accountability to the parliament and that is something we take very seriously.”

In a separate video, Medcraft defended his role as the head of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, which he was elected to earlier this year – in particular his taxpayer-funded business class travel.

His chairmanship of IOSCO has riled politicians and regulators, who say he should spend less time jetting off overseas and concentrate on Australia's problems, in particular those which face ASIC.

In the first 10 months of this year Medcraft has spent at least 51 days overseas. But Medcraft said the travel benefits Australia as he is making headway on cybercrime and assisting regulators to develop market based financing.

“So many issues facing Australia are global issues and need a global response. Also, we want to make sure global initiatives work for Australia and not against us. My work in leading IOSCO is about thinking ahead and taking action now for the longer benefit of investors in Australia and right around the world.”

He says, as an Australian, he is helping shape the international global agenda. “That is, we have an Australian looking out for Australia.”

See the videos below: