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Enforcement

Maybe Floyd Mayweather has been hit in the head too many times. The USA's Securities and Exchange Commission describes him as "a well-known professional boxer." The "well-known" bit is perhaps an understatement: his social media "reach" in 2017 was huge: 21 million "followers" on Instagram, 7.8m on Twitter and 13.4 m on Facebook. So when he said "hey, this is a good idea," it carried far more weight than his slight frame. When people talk about "fame" and "fortune," they might have been talking about Mayweather's return to the ring for one fight only but he used that fame to be paid for boosting crypto-currency ICOs.

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Sydney-based authorised representative Eli Ekman, of Dover Heights, NSW, has been prohibited from providing any financial services in any capacity for five years, under the terms of a court-enforceable undertaking (EU), said Australian financial services regulator ASIC in a statement this week. His offence is unusual.

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In 2011, Moody’s Investors Service Hong Kong Limited which along with many associated companies is generally known only as "Moody's," and which has forgone the sobriquet "ratings agency" in favour of the much more honest "ratings organisation", issued a document entitled "Red Flags for Emerging-Market Companies: A Focus on China." Ignoring, for the sake of simplicity, that the document referred to warning signs and not red flags in the true sense, it contained material that the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) decided was not apt. That started a battle which continues.

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It's one of the quickest settlements that the USA's Securities and Accounts Commission will ever see. On 27th September, civil proceedings were started. That was Thursday. The proceedings were, it has to be said, no surprise but while the "what" was expected, the "when" was unknown. After all, American prosecutors and regulators enjoy the glare of publicity and trying their cases in the court of public opinion long before they ever get to a court room. But Elon Musk, who is increasingly demonstrating deteriorating judgement in so many ways, is nothing if not decisive. On Saturday, 29th September, the SEC issued a statement: the SEC and Musk had settled and Musk didn't do anywhere near as badly as the SEC had applied for. But there is a sting in the tail.

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This morning some media is abuzz with news of an AUD700m settlement between ASIC and Commonwealth Bank of Australia, sometimes known as "CommBank" and sometimes as "CBA". CBA was first out of the stocks with its press release. Then AUSTRAC released the draft Order that will be put before the Court in settlement. What jumped out?

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Australia's Royal Commission into financial services has criticised the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (same word, different meaning) in relation to so-called enforceable undertakings. There is a problem but in part it's caused by factors outside ASIC's control.

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The UK's Financial Conduct Authority has, far too late, waded into the scandal over businesses that offer completely unnecessary, and very costly, services relating to the mis-selling of Personal Protection Insurance. The industry around selling what amounts to little more than form-filling assistance and which has collected in excess of GBP1,000 million, has force-fed advertising and is now ramping up the pressure on those who have not yet made a claim. The FCA has countered with its own advert. It's rubbish and in the wrong place.

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Hardly a day goes by without a report of bad conduct by one of Australia's banks. It's not as if there are many of them and the result is that each of them is in the news for all the wrong reasons on an increasingly frequent basis. This time it's ANZ with a classic of charging fees but providing no service.

Really. How is this different from someone knocking on the door of an elderly couple, telling them there's a hole in their roof and saying "I'll repair it for a price of X" but collecting the money and doing nothing?

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It's going to cost ANZ about AUD5 million to compensate victims of the scheme that operated through the bank's Esanda car finance business. That's just part of what ASIC describes as "a package of regulatory actions against Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ)" But there's an anomaly of the kind that excites our colleagues on the financial crime publications group of PleaseBeInformed. But we got to this one first! Even more, the story looks like a simple management failure but on closer inspection it demonstrates a fundamental lack of attention to the most basic money laundering / terrorist financing KYC/CDD requirements. ASIC may think it's over. AUSTRAC needs to take a look.

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The Australian Financial Services (AFS) Licence of a financial adviser in Brisbane was cancelled yesterday but the announcement was made first thing this morning Sydney time . Today, at least one LinkedIn profile says that the company holds an AFS licence proving that social media and due diligence are not good bedfellows. The case also shows that penalties for failure to comply with orders by regulators to undertake more effective management can have serious repercussions.

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