CANBERRA, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has been granted the power to embed staff in the nation's largest financial institutions, local media reported Tuesday.
Treasurer Scott Morrison and Financial Services Minister Kelly O'Dwyer announced ASIC's "expanded armoury," including an additional 70 million Australian dollars (51.7 million U.S. dollars) for its budget, on Tuesday.
The enhanced powers come after the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry heard that ASIC had been "asleep at the wheel" and allowed misconduct to become commonplace.
Under the agency's "refocus," it will be allowed to place dedicated staff in major banks ANZ, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank (NAB) as well as wealth manager AMP to monitor governance.
O'Dwyer said the powers in addition to the additional funding would allow James Shipton, who took over as chairman of the body in February, to take the corporate watchdog in a new direction.
"It will ensure that Asic is on the front foot when it comes to considering any deficiencies in the governance and compliance structures of these large financial institutions, so as to prevent harm to consumers before it occurs," she told reporters on Tuesday.
The funding, which will come from regulatory fees paid by the financial sector, will help ASIC pursue legal action for serious misconduct, implement the new "supervisory approach" and establish a taskforce to identify and pursue failings in large companies.
Morrison said that the five affected institutions were on board with the enhanced powers.
"They want these things to be fixed too, I think that's true, and this is just another thing that's being done to set all this right," he told Macquarie Radio on Tuesday.