Following Wednesday’s article on a broking group who fell victim to overseas scammers – and found ASIC’s response less than satisfactory, to say the least - we were approached by readers claiming to have endured similarly sluggish reactions from ASIC following a misconduct complaint.
One such reader, a financial planner who wished to remain anonymous, says he complained to ASIC about a suspicious accountant two months ago…and still hasn’t heard back.
“I reported it to ASIC two months ago and they said they would send me some links to put all the information on a complaint form, but I didn’t want to make an official complaint. I just wanted them to know about the matter.”
He claims he never heard back following the initial phone call. The fact that he believed at the time that he would have to attach his name and contact details to an official complaint meant he opted not to submit one, since he feared he’d be dragged into a potential court case.
“You just think that ASIC should have a streamlined process and take it on board. All they’re interested in is sending you a link to make an official complaint and I don’t want to make an official complaint. You have to attach your name to it.”
Given the influx of complaints regarding ASIC’s, er, complaints process, we decided to approach them ourselves, asking for an explanation of brokers’ options when it comes to reporting potential cases misconduct – particularly if the broker doesn’t want his/her name on the complaint.
While ASIC wasn’t able to provide comment on the above case – and was unwilling to offer an estimate of how long it should take for an individual case to be dealt with, a spokesperson told Australian Broker that some of the above statements are the result of misinformation.
For instance, he says the belief that complaints must include the name and contact details of the issuer is untrue – though it can limit the amount of communication ASIC provides.
“We keep all reports of misconduct lodged with us confidential. People can lodge reports with us anonymously, if they wish. We may be limited in what information we can provide back to anonymous reporters, and it will depend on the anonymous reporter giving us some contact detail information.”
As a matter of process, says the spokesperson, ASIC doesn’t take the details of misconduct over the phone, such as through calls to the call centre or receptions.
“People on our call centre or reception will advise callers that they should lodge the report online. If a misconduct reporter requires assistance to lodge a report with us on line, (e.g. are unable to use a computer or may have a physical disability etc) we will attempt to provide the assistance.”
“We encourage people who believe they have evidence of a breach of a law we administer to lodge a misconduct report with us online,” says the spokesperson. “They can do so at www.asic.gov.au/complain.”
Failing that, you can always make like Wednesday's Mike Morgan Loans victim and take your case to the FBI...