Westpac will get cracking on its remediation plans after settling six of seven continuing investigations by the corporate regulator, agreeing to pay fines totalling $113 million on Tuesday.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission launched unprecedented multiple legal cases against the bank alleging “widespread compliance failures” across several of its businesses, for which the bank has also agreed to compensate its customers to the tune of $80 million. The agreed settlement is largely in line with previously flagged liabilities already booked on Westpac’s balance sheet.

Westpac chief executive Peter King welcomed the agreement on the six issues, as the bank looks to start work implementing and embedding its remediation program over the next two years.

“The six matters today were quite a large slate of the issues that we’ve had on our plate with ASIC as the regulator, so it’s nice to be able to come to an agreement on how we go to the court on these matters,” Mr King said.

ASIC deputy chairman Sarah Court acknowledged a change of approach from Westpac, which did not fight the claims and worked with the regulator to agree the combined $113 million in fines.

Ms Court said that while the six claims had merged into an “unprecedented” action, they all stemmed from a common issue.

“We had a look at all this and the fact that this involved six different sets of issues involving Westpac, at the heart of which we considered to be widespread compliance failures … so we looked at these as a job lot,” Ms Court said.

“These cases reflectively suggest a pretty sorry state of affairs across Westpac’s compliance processes.”

Plenty more to do

Ms Court said Tuesday’s outcome should “send a message to the industry more generally” to fix internal systems or face action, warning there was still plenty of work to be done at Westpac.

Read More – https://www.afr.com/companies/financial-services/westpac-admits-charging-the-dead-sued-by-asic-for-widespread-failings-20211130-p59dam