The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has announced that the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 No. 69 (NZ) (the Act) is beginning to generate a positive cultural shift in the New Zealand financial services sector.
Non-bank lender Pepper Australia Pty Ltd (Pepper), supported by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and the National Australia Bank (NAB), has issued $500 million worth of "non-conforming" home loans, namely residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) issued to customers with poor credit records or demanding repayment ratios. Reportedly, the issue is Australia's biggest since the global financial crisis and offered investors different tranches of debt, with those with a lower credit rating attracting a higher return for the investor.
Australian retailers Best and Less and The Just Group have been criticised by Textile Clothing and Footwear Union national secretary Michelle O'Neil for failing to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which provides a legally enforceable right to Bangladeshi garment workers to stop work if their safety is under threat.
Suspicious transaction reports reached a 12-year high of 33,000 in 2013, a 40% increase on the figure for 2012. Narcotics Bureau financial investigations division superintendent Gloria Yu Yin-ching reportedly attributed the increase to enhanced awareness, the enactment of new anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing legislation in 2012 and requests from foreign law enforcement agencies.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has made available the following infringement notices (both dated 3 March 2014) issued under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 No. 51 (Cth) against financial services company Wealth Within for misleading online advertisements:
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that the Federal Court of Australia has handed down its decision in Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Startel Communication Co Pty Ltd  FCA 352 (8 April 2014), fining Startel Communication (Startel) a total of A$320,000 for "misleading consumers about their rights under [Schedule 2 (The Australian Consumer Law) (the ACL) to the Competition and Consumer Act (2010) 1974 No. 51 (Cth)] when cold calling consumers to sell mobile phone plans".
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued the following enforcement-related media releases:
The Environment Protection Authority of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW EPA) has advised that it has issued Signium Piggery a penalty notice fining it for failing to comply with a clean-up direction given in late 2013.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that the Federal Court of Australia (FCA) has handed down its decisions in relation to ACCC allegations that court enforceable antitrust undertakings from grocery and fuel retail groups Coles Group (further information) and Woolworths (further information) (both dated 6 December 2013) were breached by their offers of certain fuel retail discounts.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released A guide for business - Country of origin claims and the Australian Consumer Law (April 2014). The guide provides information to assist businesses in complying with Schedule 2 (The Australian Consumer Law) (the ACL) to the Competition and Consumer Act (2010) 1974 No. 51 (Cth) when making country of origin claims, including when businesses can make "made in", "product of" or "grown in" Australia claims, and how they can rely on the safe harbour provisions of the ACL.
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