ASIC deputy chair resigns

By Shannon Jenkins

Monday October 26, 2020

Daniel Crennan (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Australian Securities and Investment Commission deputy chair Daniel Crennan has resigned amid a review into relocation expenses paid by his employer.

His departure comes days after the regulator’s chair, James Shipton, stood aside following revelations that ASIC paid him more than $118,000 for tax advice related to his relocation from the United States to Australia. Crennan was also paid more than $69,000 to relocate from Melbourne to Sydney in 2019.

In a statement announcing his resignation on Monday, Crennan maintained that the agency had told him the payments were in line with the organisation’s policy, but he had asked ASIC earlier this month to cease the payments.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

National auditor-general Grant Hehir had found the payments exceeded limits set by the commonwealth remuneration tribunal, and may have breached procurement rules. The ANAO recommended that an independent review be conducted into the payments, which Crennan said would “take some time”. He has resigned as a result.

“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,” he said.

“In order to ensure that ASIC’s important work is not disrupted, I will remain available to facilitate the orderly transfer of work to my successor. I wish the new commissioner every future success as he or she continues the critical work that ASIC is assigned to undertake.”

On Friday treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the independent review would be conducted through the Treasury by former senior public servant Dr Vivienne Thom, and would be finalised by the end of the year.

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