Commonwealth Bank of Australia accused of breaking Australia’s anti-hawking laws

Australia’s biggest bank could be forced to fork out AUS$1.8m for making 87 unsolicited calls to sell life insurance.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has alleged that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)  has broken the country’s anti-hawking laws multiple times between October and December 2014. These laws protect customers from cold calls attempting to sell life insurance policies.

Each offence could cost the bank AUS$21,250 or AUS$1.8m for all 87 calls together.

The news comes as the Australian banking scene is dealing with the fallout of the Royal Commission that investigated the sector and found it breaking both morale and legal codes of conduct.

As a result, regulators in Oz have been flexing their muscles recently, warning the sector that it will not turn a blind eye towards bad behaviours.

Treasurer John Frydenberg, for instance, recently unveiled his roadmap for how the financial sector should regain trust from the public and other stakeholders. The roadmap was based on the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

Similarly, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC has experienced a sharp increase in companies disclosing breaches to anti-money laundering rules. The spike came after AUSTRAC has made it clear it will not hesitate to take action against big banks and other financial institutions.

To some, that is the light that ASIC’s accusations against CBA should be seen.

“It’s going to be a test case to see if they can actually get through one of the more egregious complaints of the Royal Commission,” Andrew Grant, a senior lecturer in finance at the University of Sydney Business School, told Reuters.

Enjoying the stories?

Subscribe to our weekly InsurTech newsletter and get the latest industry news & research


The following investor(s) were tagged in this article.