ASIC launches first past the post immunity for market misconduct offences

ASIC has released an immunity policy for certain contraventions of the Corporations Act including market manipulation and insider trading which only applies to the first individual to report the conduct.

Under the new policy, an individual who has engaged with others to manipulate the market, commit insider trading or engage in dishonest conduct when operating a financial services business (Part 7.10 of the Act) can, in certain circumstances, seek immunity from both civil penalty and criminal proceedings. Applications for immunity under ASIC’s policy are only available to individuals, not corporations. Under the policy, immunity will only be available to the first individual who satisfies the immunity criteria and reports the misconduct to ASIC prior to commencement of an investigation into the conduct.

ASIC is responsible for granting civil immunity, while the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution (CDPP) is responsible for granting criminal immunity. ASIC will work with and provide input to the CDPP on applications for criminal immunity.

Individuals who do not meet the criteria for immunity are still encouraged to cooperate with ASIC and will be given due credit for any cooperation received (see INFO 172). ASIC will not provide immunity from any administrative or compensation actions. Any cooperation provided by an individual will be considered in determining whether to take administrative action against the individual.

“ASIC continues to develop and implement new tools to combat and detect misconduct. The Immunity Policy enhances ASIC’s ability to identify and take enforcement action against complex markets and financial services contraventions,” said ASIC Commissioner Sean Hughes.

For more information, go to the ASIC website.

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