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Report: Australia regulator to probe brokers over commissions from fund managers

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission will look into stockbrokers who receive commissions from fund managers and the misselling of poorly performing listed investment funds, The Australian Financial Review reported Jan. 9.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission will be increasing reviews of particular brokers and assess the advice they give to clients, according to a senior source. The probe will look into whether brokers' advice to clients violated the "best interest duty" law.

The regulator has grown concerned over the performance of listed investment companies, or LICs, and listed investment trusts, or LITs. Citing documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws, the outlet reported that the regulator identified the "worst" LICs as posting a 10% loss and paying a 1% or higher commissions to brokers. In recent months, ASIC officials warned stockbrokers that the regulator will be reviewing their sales of LICs or LITs to clients, according to the report.

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is also asking the regulator to investigate if stamping fees, or sales commissions paid by fund managers to brokers, are compromising the best interests of customers.