The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has concluded that maximum terms of imprisonment and fines at its disposal are broadly consistent with those available in other jurisdictions.
The main exceptions are that significantly higher maximum prison terms are available in the United States compared with Australia and all the other jurisdictions surveyed. In Australia and Hong Kong, ten years is the maximum term, whereas the USA can lock an offender away for up to 20 years.
In Australia, the maximum fine for either insider trading or market manipulation is A$765,000. In Hong Kong those sums are higher at A$1.44 million. In the USA, fines are the highest for either transgression at A$5.6 million.
ASIC’s comparative analysis also found that a broader range of non-criminal monetary penalties is available in other jurisdictions. That includes greater flexibility to impose higher non-criminal penalties, such as penalties that are a multiple of the financial benefit obtained by the wrongdoer, in addition to the scope to use non-criminal penalties when punishing other wrongdoings.
A similar conclusion – that penalties could be higher – also extended to the ability to require disgorgement – that being the requirement that profits gained or losses avoided be removed from the wrongdoer.