ASIC Chair stands aside pending review into relocation expenses

ASIC Chair, James Shipton, has stood aside pending a review into relocation expenses, including for income tax advice paid for by ASIC.

Appearing on Friday before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, Mr Shipton said a note in the ASIC annual report has identified payments of certain relocation expenses incurred on his behalf (on his appointment and return to Australia from the US) and Deputy Chair Daniel Crennan (as part of an agreement that he move from Melbourne to Sydney).

Following an audit of ASIC’s financial statements, Mr Shipton said the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) expressed a view that the total remuneration paid to both office holders may exceed the limits set by Remuneration Tribunal Determinations. The matter was first raised in the ANAO’s 2018-19 closing report. ASIC has acknowledged that the processes supporting the approval of these relocation expenses were inadequate, and accepted the ANAO recommendations which include conducting an independent review.

While Mr Shipton maintains that he acted properly and appropriately in this matter, he has advised the Treasurer that it is appropriate for him to stand aside pending the outcome of the review. Mr Shipton said he holds himself to the highest possible standard, and will voluntarily reimburse ASIC for the tax related expenses ASIC paid following his 2018 relocation from the US.

Mr Shipton said the accommodation payments for ASIC Deputy Chair, Daniel Crennan, were ceased following his request, and he offered and agreed to repay the accommodation payments made to him.

Stuart Jones is a Senior Tax Writer with Thomson Reuters and a respected commentator on all matters superannuation. Stuart is the author of the Australian Superannuation Handbook and contributes extensively to other Thomson Reuters’ services, including the Australian Tax Handbook.

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