Insider trading masterminds jailed after Block bid

Mark Russell at The Sydney Morning Herald reports on the court appearance of two men behind a prominent 2013/14 insider trading scheme.

Two men involved in a $7 million insider trading scheme that helped the mastermind buy an apartment from The Block television show to give his crimes a “cloak of respectability” have been jailed.

Former NAB banker Lukas Kamay and former Australian Bureau of Statistics employee Christopher Hill had been involved in the worst case of insider trading to come before the courts in Australia, said Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth.

The full story is available from The Sydney Morning Herald.

NAB vows to lift game on bad advice

Clancy Yeates at The Sydney Morning Herald covers NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn’s response to recent revelations about the banks financial planning division.

National Australia Bank chief Andrew Thorburn has conceded there is a need for better processes to detect bad financial advice and inform customers who may be affected, after recent revelations of misconduct in its wealth arm.

Mr Thorburn on Monday said there would always be instances of “greed” and “deceit” in finance, but banks needed to counter this through their internal systems and the example set by senior executives.

The full story is available from The Sydney Morning Herald.

NAB and its dead-parrots society

Jeff Morris at The Sydney Morning Herald reports on NAB’s appearance at a Senate estimates hearing in relation to its financial planning division.

NAB’s denial of systemic problems in its financial planning division at the Senate hearing last week reminded me of Monty Python’s dead parrot sketch.

For those not familiar with the brilliance of Python, a man goes back to a pet store to complain about a parrot he bought that, upon closer inspection, turns out to have been stuffed and nailed to its perch.

“It’s not dead!” NAB shrieked repeatedly. Trust me fellas, it’s dead. You may not be able to find systemic problems in your financial planning division but I’ll bet you I could if you’d let me look through the files.

The full story is available from The Sydney Morning Herald.

NAB will need more than remorse to satisfy Senate grilling

Adele Ferguson at The Sydney Morning Herald highlights the seriousness of NAB’s appearance at an upcoming Senate estimates hearing where it must explain serious misconduct on its financial planning division.

National Australia Bank executives will need to pull a rabbit out of a hat when they front a Senate estimates hearing on Friday to explain serious misconduct in its financial planning division.

The allegations the bank has faced since Fairfax Media’s expose on February 21 are so serious it has raised the interest of the corporate regulator ASIC, the prudential regulator APRA and reignited calls for a royal commission into the financial services sector.

The full story is available from The Sydney Morning Herald.

ASIC needs more funding

Nassim Khadem at The Sydney Morning Herald reports on David Murray’s comments regarding calls for a royal commission into the financial planning industry.

The head of the financial system inquiry, David Murray, says there’s only a case for a royal commission into the financial planning sector if there’s evidence of criminal conduct.

Mr Murray said that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission needed better resourcing, and financial planners needed better training.

There was no need for a royal commission “unless there’s criminality”, he said. “Otherwise there’s probably no distinct benefit.”

The full story is available from The Sydney Morning Herald.

NAB scandal reveals shortcomings

Clancy Yeates at The Sydney Morning Herald looks at how the recent NAB scandal reveals shortcomings with ASIC’s breach reporting system.

Revelations of misconduct in National Australia Bank’s financial advice arm have exposed significant gaps in the “breach reporting” system requiring banks to notify the corporate regulator of problems.

Financial services companies must submit a “breach report” to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission within 10 days if they become aware of activity that could be a “significant” infringement of their licence conditions. Requiring the prompt reporting of breaches to ASIC is designed to inform the regulator of systemic problems in the market and to allow it to implement action to protect customers.

The full story is available from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Secondments spell trouble at ASIC

Michael West at The Sydney Morning Herald asks who is watching the watchdog, pointing out issues relating to secondments at ASIC.

We know there is a problem: some of the biggest names in Australian finance – Commonwealth Bank, Macquarie and now National Australia bank – have routinely dudded their customers.

We also know that, without leaks from whistleblowers and investigations by the press, the Australian people would have been kept in the dark about these scandals. There would have been more bad behaviour, more victims. We know now that the corporate regulator allowed NAB to “review” and amend a press release about the scandal prior to publication, a luxury not afforded lesser organisations.

The full story is available from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Calls mount for royal commission into financial planning industry

Clancy Yeates and Adele Ferguson at The Sydney Morning Herald report on calls for a wider inquiry into the financial planning industry.

Calls are growing for a royal commission into the entire financial planning industry as a new leaked document reveals National Australia Bank identified five key areas within its wealth advisory activities for further investigation.

It was revealed by Fairfax Media over the weekend that NAB had quietly paid $10 million to $15 million in compensation over the past five years to 750 customers who received inappropriate advice.

The full story is available from The Sydney Morning Herald.

ASIC allowed NAB to check and alter media release

Adele Ferguson and Ruth Williams at The Sydney Morning Herald report on that ASIC allowed NAB to check and alter media release into the bank’s Wealth’s Navigator errors.

The corporate regulator agreed to alter a media release about a significant system error at National Australia Bank after it gave the bank the chance to “review” and suggest changes to the document before it was made public.

Internal documents from NAB’s Wealth division, passed to Fairfax Media by a bank whistleblower, show that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission gave the bank the “opportunity” to review an ASIC media release the day before it was made public in May last year – and changed content in the release based on NAB’s “feedback”.

The full story is available from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Massive leak puts pressure on NAB

Adele Ferguson at The Sydney Morning Herald examines revelations that NAB sacked financial advisers over forgery and poor ethics.

It was early August 2014, and the financial advice industry was on red alert. The Commonwealth Bank’s chief executive had just “unreservedly” apologised for a scandal involving fraud, forgery and a cover-up within the bank’s financial planning operations. Allegations had just surfaced about cheating on professional exams at Macquarie Group.
And within National Australia Bank, a sensitive and explosive report was circulating.

“We have suspended, terminated or ensured resignations of 31 NAB financial planners and aligned advisers over the past two years due to conflicts of interest, inappropriate advice, inappropriate practices or serious repeat compliance breaches,” the internal report reveals.

The full story is available from The Sydney Morning Herald.