Watchdog's close watch on pennies

Watchdog's close watch on pennies

The corporate watchdog may be copping regular kickings from all and sundry over its apparent inability to growl convincingly at besuited crooks, but at least its top staff are still getting paid enough to keep them out of the kennel.

Note 12 of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's annual report, which was tabled in Federal Parliament on Wednesday, shows commissioners were paid a total of $2.96 million in the 2012-13 financial year, up from $2.18 million the previous year.

An accompanying table purports to show how many commissioners got how much, but CBD fears that if similar was included in a prospectus the fearless ASIC staff who vet fund-raising documents would knock it back for lack of clarity.

It shows that two commissioners reaped between $690,000 and $720,000 (including super). That's odd because according to the most recent figures provided by the Remuneration Tribunal, which sets the pay of public servants, only chairman Greg Medcraft should be trousering that much. The solution was that there was a "one-off superannuation payment" to a commissioner this year that moved them into a higher bracket - ASIC doesn't say who, but CBD is reminded that deputy chair Belinda Gibson, whose pay is fixed by the Rem Tribunal at $573,000, resigned in May.

While some will no doubt be outraged that Medcraft gets $716,000 a year, CBD reckons he is hard done by. While his pay is the same as ACCC boss Rod Sims and Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson, SC, over at APRA prudential kingpin John Laker for some reason got a package worth between $900,000 and $930,000 last financial year.

Bookie cashes out

Troubled bookmaker Betezy has been sold, CBD hears. UK giant Ladbrokes is said to be the buyer, although some reckon the NT-licensed bookie had been offloaded to a private investor.

Whoever has snapped it up has a lot of work to do to restore the faith of punters. Since 2011, the territory's Racing Commission has made four adverse findings against Betezy, and punters are also unhappy about its onerous conditions on bonus bets and its cancelled Tipezy contest (CBD, Wednesday).

CBD also heard talk that former Sportsbet head honcho Matt Tripp is somehow involved in the deal between Ladbrokes and Betezy, but of course this can't be true because his undertaking not to compete with his old shop doesn't expire until next March.

Betezy's Robert Parker didn't respond to a phone call, Tripp couldn't be reached at one of his many companies, WG Technologies, and an email to Ladbrokes has yet to be answered.

Bah, humbug

We'll know the boom is back when extravagant Christmas parties are once again the done thing, but judging by the penny-pinching going on at John Pollaers' Pacific Brands the peak of the market is still some way off.

PacBrand's manchester division, Sheridan, was planning a yuletide blowout at Melbourne's Maritime Museum, but intervention from head office short-sheeted the idea. Instead, staff will be confined to the office for the towel-flicking break-up.

Mind you, a couple of weeks ago PacBrands did put on what was described to CBD as a "cultural business transformation breakthrough working session" for 320 senior managers at the MCG.

Edelsten silent

Has disgraced doctor Geoffrey Edelsten given up on his Australia's Worst Journalist website? The cybernetic sewer was back in operation on Thursday after a recent outage (CBD, Monday), but there hasn't been a fresh outpouring of outrage since August 28 and no one answers the AWJ hotline. Come on Geoffrey, lift your game.

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