Under the EU, Halifax must appoint an independent consultant to review its business and develop a plan to rectify the deficiencies. The independent expert will report regularly to ASIC over the next year on Halifax’s implementation of the plan.

Over six months last year ASIC’s review of Halifax’s operations found licence compliance issues with its financial services practices, in particular:

supervision and monitoring of representatives
having technological resources to supervise and monitor representatives
oversight of the training and professional standards of representatives
breach assessment and reporting processes, complaints assessment and handling
processes for the authorisation and publication of marketing materials, and
procedures and practices in assessing counterparty risks.

ASIC Deputy Chairman Belinda Gibson said today’s outcome should send a warning to securities dealers about the importance of having adequate compliance and governance standards.

‘The EU requires Halifax to put in place a plan to rectify the deficiencies under the eyes of ASIC and an external independent expert. It requires Halifax to rethink significantly the way it monitors its representatives and to create a culture where compliance is central to the services it provides,’ Ms Gibson said.

If the review identifies a client has been adversely impacted due to Halifax’s conduct, Halifax will be required to consider the circumstances and to remediate the client where appropriate.

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ASIC acknowledges Halifax’s cooperation in the matter.