The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has been questioned over the validity of handing $2.5 million of penalty money extracted from the Commonwealth Bank and ANZ to consumer group, the Superannuation Consumer Centre (SCC).
ASIC chair, James Shipton, confirmed the grant of the money to the SCC amid suggestions by the chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, Senator James Paterson that it was an “activist organisation” that he did not believe should be “funded by proxy with public money”.
The money was delivered to the SCC under so-called “community benefit’ arrangements where, if those harmed by misconduct, cannot be readily identified ASIC can select an organisation.
Amid a suggestion by ASIC executives that, perhaps, it was time to revisit the issue, the chair said: “In this instance, an activist group that purports to represent superannuants is not necessarily a good proxy for the superannuants themselves, who, as you say, are the victims of the action”.
NSW Liberal Senator, Andrew Bragg, asked whether, given the SCC already had the money, what sort of involvement or interest ASIC might have in its activities going forward.