December 19, 2019 / 5:25 AM / a month ago

Australia's Westpac fined over $6 mln for employee's poor financial advice

Dec 19 (Reuters) - Australia’s markets regulator said on Thursday a court had ordered Westpac Banking Corp to pay a penalty of A$9.2 million ($6.24 million) over a financial planner’s poor advice.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) filed a lawsuit last year alleging that country’s second largest lender was liable for one of its financial planners’ failure to act in the best interests of customers.

The lawsuit chided the planner's inappropriate financial advice and failure to prioritize client interests, amounting to 22 breaches of the country's Corporations Act by the bank. [Full Story]

The regulator at the time demanded fines and declarations that Westpac admit it did not do everything necessary to provide financial services “efficiently, honestly and fairly”.

“Westpac is directly liable for these breaches, which attracts a significant civil penalty, because the law imposes a specific liability on licensees for the breaches of their financial advisers,” ASIC said in a statement.

Westpac didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Adding to the intense regulatory scrutiny after an inquiry into the financial sector last year, financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC sued the bank last month accusing it of facilitating millions of payments that breached money laundering laws and enabled payments from convicted child sex offenders.

$1 = 1.4736 Australian dollars Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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