Recently, the head of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Greg Medcraft, called Australia a “paradise” for white-collar criminals. Soon after he recanted, claiming he didn’t want the country to become a haven for financial fraudsters. This rephrasing likely followed when Finance Minister Mathias Cormann leaned on Medcraft.
The mass media has done an admirable job bringing the CBA financial planner scandal to light, forcing ASIC to finally investigate, the Senate to inquire and the CBA to apologise and provide compensation. Despite this, frauds like these areuniversally downplayed as isolated events, perpetrated by “bad apples” in an otherwise trustworthy FIRE (finance, insurance and real estate) sector.
Australia’s economic history shows otherwise. Our past is littered with a surprisingly large number of control frauds, which government and regulators have done next to nothing to prevent and rarely prosecute. The mounting frauds appear emboldened by deregulation and liberalisation of banking and finance.
Want to comment on this posting? See the “Comment” box below.