ASIC deputy chair Daniel Crennan QC has resigned from his role following Friday’s revelations that the regulator may have incorrectly paid $70,000 worth of his rental costs.
The news comes after an audit of ASIC’s financial statements by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) found that total remuneration paid to both ASIC chair James Shipton and deputy chair Daniel Crennan QC may have exceeded limits set by Remuneration Tribunal Determinations due to relocation expenses incurred by the two men.
Mr Shipton “stepped aside” on Friday*, expecting that Mr Crennan would take over as acting head in the interim.
However, Mr Crennan has now resigned from his role.
In a statement released on Monday (16 October), Mr Crennan said: “I had been intending to retire from my position in July 2021.
“However, in the current circumstances, I have decided that it is in the best interests of ASIC for me to resign now. I have therefore tendered my resignation to the Treasurer with immediate effect.”
Noting the issue at hand, Mr Crennan elaborated: “In early 2018, I accepted an offer to become a Melbourne-based ASIC commissioner. It was a position which I accepted given the opportunities to contribute to the development of the regulation of corporate Australia.
“In October 2018, I agreed to a request from the ASIC chair that I move to Sydney because of the higher number of commissioners in Melbourne. ASIC agreed to pay me a relocation package, which included a rental allowance. I was told the payment of this allowance was consistent with ASIC policy.
“In September 2020 and early October 2020, I was told of external advice about, and the Australian National Audit Office’s (ANAO) present position concerning, the rental allowance being paid to me. I requested that ASIC cease paying me the rental allowance. I also offered and agreed to repay the rental allowance ASIC had paid to me.
“Following its audit of ASIC’s financial statements, the ANAO has recommended that an independent review be conducted into issues raised regarding relocation payments, including mine. That review will take some time.”
He concluded: “In order to ensure that ASIC’s important work is not disrupted, I will remain available to facilitate the orderly transfer of my work to my successor.
“I wish the new commissioner every future success as he or she continue the critical work that ASIC is assigned to undertake.”
Mr Crennan said he was grateful to the Commonwealth government for giving him the opportunity to serve as an ASIC commissioner and thanked his fellow commissioners, wishing them well for the work they do “on behalf of all Australians”.
Mr Crennan said he would remain available to facilitate the “orderly transfer” of work to his successor.
Deputy chair Karen Chester is currently serving as acting chair of ASIC.
*This news story was updated on 26/10/2020 to reflect that Mr Shipton has not formally resigned, but “stepped aside” while the review is undertaken.
[Related: ASIC chair resigns over relocation expenses]
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
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