While businesses often have trouble meeting “soft” laws (principles-based laws), obligations such as the due dates for lodging reports should be recorded in a risk and compliance database and allocated to specific positions so that they are not missed. Reporting Calendar.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has announced that it has served infringement notices on Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac) and two of its subsidiaries for failing to meet their legal obligations to report data to APRA.
The infringement notices requires the Westpac entities to pay a cumulative penalty of $1,501,500. This is the maximum financial penalty APRA can issue for infringement notices under the Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001 (FSCODA).
Failure to submit monthly or quarterly returns within the timeframes specified by APRA’s reporting standards is a strict liability offence.
APRA says that Westpac, along with two of its registered financial corporations (RFCs), St George Finance Holdings Limited and Capital Finance Australia Limited, breached the requirements of the FSCODA by failing to report data by the required deadlines. Westpac was up to 20 days late in filing its reports for the month ending 31 March 2019 under the Economic and Financial Statistics program, which were due on 1 May. The two RFCs missed the same deadline by up to 37 days.
The RFCs were also up to 28 days late in submitting their reports for the month ending 30 April 2019. Additionally, all three Westpac entities were between 9 and 28 days late in filing their reports for the quarter ending 31 March 2019, which were due on 10 May 2019.
APRA sent show cause notices to the Westpac entities on 22 July seeking their responses to APRA’s intention to serve them with infringement notices over the FSCODA breaches. After assessing Westpac’s responses, APRA has decided to proceed with the issuing of infringement notices.
The announcement reflects a new transparency approach by APRA as well as its commitment to enforcement.