Finance Finance News Corporate watchdog chief temporarily stands down over expenses

Corporate watchdog chief temporarily stands down over expenses

Chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) James Shipton. Photo: AAP
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The chairman of the corporate watchdog ASIC is standing aside pending a review of expenses.

Mr Shipton was told by the auditor-general on October 22 of concerns about $118,000 in payments made on his behalf relating to tax advice and $70,000 to deputy chair Dan Crennan relating to housing expenses.

The expenses related to Mr Shipton’s return to Australia from the US in 2018 and Mr Crennan’s move from Melbourne to Sydney.

Mr Shipton speaks during a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services at Parliament House on Friday. Photo: AAP

The auditor-general found the total remuneration paid to both officials “may exceed the limits set within the relevant Remuneration Tribunal determinations”.

Mr Shipton and Mr Crennan have agreed to repay the expenses.

The auditor recommended to ASIC it review the way pay and benefits for executive officers are approved and procurement processes around payments made for the chair’s tax advice.

ASIC has accepted the recommendations.

Mr Shipton said the processes supporting the approval of the relocation expenses were “inadequate”.

“And, given the high standard ASIC holds itself to, it is disappointed that such situation has occurred.”

Mr Shipton said he had advised the treasurer it was appropriate to stand aside pending the outcome of the review.

“Whilst I believe that I have acted properly and appropriately in this matter, I hold myself to the highest possible standard.”

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he had asked Treasury to undertake an independent review into the findings of the Australian National Audit Office.

“Following the review, Treasury will advise me on the findings of the review and any further course of action that may be appropriate.”

The independent review will be undertaken by Dr Vivienne Thom and is expected to be completed with the full cooperation of ASIC by the end of the year.

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