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It's not the best way to start the week, much less the month. The first notice from Australian regulator The Australian Securities and Investment Commission tells that Macquarie Securities (Australia) Limited has been issued a penalty notice : ASIC "believes" the company "contravened" market integrity rules. The failure was of design, implementation and maintenance of compliance systems, not an intention to not comply, ASIC says. Plus ça change in so much of the financial sector, then.

BIScom Subsection: 

Tracing its heritage to 1787 (that's a year, not a time), Raphaels Bank is one of the oldest independent banks in the UK. The bank says "today, we operate as a dynamic, niche savings and lending bank." It also operates "our own ATM Estate" and says it's a "well-established payment services provider." That, it is hard to escape concluding, is that this venerable institution is capitalising on its size and ability to operate in areas more usually associated with secondary institutiond and fintech companies. But for such a tiny business, it comes to the attention of regulators more than is healthy.

BIScom Subsection: 

If we take out the hyperbole inherent in American notices (e.g. "violation" instead of "breach" and the profligate use of words like "egregious") we get to a nitty gritty that is a stone in the shoe, a thorn in the side or any one of a dozen bon mots that indicate how and why compliance officers need to be abreast of principles more than data. One has to feel some sympathy with State Street. The case also have implications for citizens of one country living abroad, especially pensioners.

Publication: 

In Australia, 14 airlines have been found to have colluded to fix prices for freight. The latest to be brought to book is Garuda Indonesia and the penalties are substantial.

Today's news that a prosecution has collapsed and a jury discharged without even considering the evidence because of the lack of credibility of a witness put up as an expert might not be big news - if it wasn't for the fact that the witness is Andrew Ager, a sticky character, a self-described Subject Matter Expert, that the Crown Prosecution Service used as their go-to-guy for anything to do with carbon credits and, sometimes, frauds in other areas, too. Even more startling is the witness' attempts to pervert the course of justice. The CPS is, once more, the subject of much head-shaking for being rubbish. But culpable as they are, the CPS is not the only one against which accusations of ineptitude should be levelled.

CoNet Section: 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has begun proceedings in the Federal Court against Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Limited (Sony Europe).

 

The complaint relates to limitations on warranty for Sony's online sales of PlayStation products that appear on its website and have been notified to Australian consumers in dealings with them.

It's far, far more complicated than the ACCC suggests and for global retailers it's a major threat.

The front page of the website of a solicitor's practice in Bolton in the north of England says "WARNING – SCAM ALERT – We have been advised that Allansons has been cited as the instructed solicitors by Agents purporting to be from ECM Asset Management Limited and in connection with investment equity release. No such company exists and we have been informed this is part of an ongoing investment scam. Allansons has not been instructed by any such company nor been involved in any such scheme." Sadly, the profession's regulator has found, there was malfeasance within the firm. And there is apparently unrelated skulduggery afoot.

CoNet Section: 

I'm highly critical of American style oval racing. It's far too orchestrated by "IndyCar" or "Nascar" and it's boring unless there's a crash (and who wants to wish for crashes that cause injury or death?). After all, who wants to sit through 185 laps only for a crash to force the "full course yellow" or, even, "safety car" that sets up the cars for the only bit that really matters: the last ten laps or so to the finish. I've watched it, on and off, for several decades and it's almost always Dullsville personified. Until this year's Indy 500. Oh, how I wish they could all be like this.

CoNet Section: 

There's something odd about people who have misspelt names. Brandi is bad enough but to use Allen as a first name is woefully wrong. Welcome to the world of the Pritchards and their burned-down, rented, house.

BIScom Subsection: 

AirAsia is a superb airline. Its aircraft are well maintained and clean, its crew are great. Yes, its ability to be anywhere near its scheduled departure and arrival times are the stuff of legend - for their persistent failures. It has an ultra-slick website that whizzes through the pages. but it's the website that is the real reason that one has to think twice about booking a flight. That's because so much of it, outside the core part of finding flights, doesn't work. Cheap fares are one thing - but not when buying them is so frustrating. But a failure today takes the biscuit. UPDATED AT END

CoNet Section: 

If there's a way to force non-FB group users into the fold, Facebook is going to find it. Within the past few days, it has removed one of the most useful features of Instagram: the ability of millions of mobile users to "lurk" and read comments posted on a page. Why? Because it's failed to force them to sign up by an utterly obtrusive "splash screen" that's a bugger to remove because the X is in the wrong place. For now, it's latest change does not affect desktop users but, just as FB itself has made it increasingly difficult to access supposedly public information without an account, surely that's going to change.

The UK's Department for International Trade has issued a new, contingency version of the Open General Export Licence (OGEL) for dual use goods exported to countries within the UK.

The bringing into force of the new licence is contingent upon the UK leaving the European Union without a deal. If there is a deal, the existing arrangements will continue at least during the transitional period. However, there is something odd going on..

Niki Lauda
was born on: 
22 February 1949
at: 
Vienna, Austria
and died on: 
19 May 2019
at: 
Zürich, Switzerland

Following the release of market sensitive information last week (see Embarrassment for regulator with premature release of market sensitive information) there's an apology, of sorts. Is it fair dinkum or a feeble excuse?

CoNet Section: 

The Board of Supervisors for the City and County of San Francisco are a long, long, long way down the pecking order when it comes to legislation. Unlike the US Congress, where Members can pass motions that amount to comment not law, the Board of Supervisors can pass law - but it may well have no practical effect. So exactly what is the newly announced law and how much weight will it carry?

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