ASX 200 up, Westpac caught in potential fraud, RPMGlobal rises

The ASX 200 rose today, although Westpac was in the headlines for the wrong reasons again.

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The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) went up 0.6% today to 7,309 points.

Here are some of the highlights from the ASX:

Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC)

The Westpac share price was flat today – after the other big banks went up around 1% – with the bank telling investors it had uncovered potential fraud.

The potential fraud relates to a portfolio of equipment leases with Westpac customers arranged by Forum Finance, which were referred to Westpac’s institutional bank.

Westpac said that whilst investigations are ongoing and the NSW police, ASIC and APRA have been notified, at this stage it appears no Westpac customer has suffered a financial loss.

The bank has a potential exposure of around $200 million after tax, with the extent of any loss dependent on the outcome of its investigations and recovery actions underway.

Westpac has obtained certain asset freezing and search orders to preserve available assets and relevant information.

The big four ASX 200 bank is continuing to investigate how this occurred, including undertaking an external review.

Westpac CEO Peter King said:

Westpac takes fraud very seriously and will take all necessary actions to protect the interests of the bank and its customers.

This is a complex issue, and we are working at pace to address it, including engaging with the police and regulators. At this preliminary stage, the potential fraud is sophisticated and appears to have been perpetrated externally.

Our new chief executive of the institutional bank, Anthony Miller, is working with our customers to ensure no disruption to their operations.

RPMGlobal Holdings Ltd (ASX: RUL)

The RPMGlobal share price went up almost 5% today in response to its update.

The total contracted value (TCV) derived from software subscriptions sold and software revenue from perpetual license contracts concluded during FY21 which together totalled $52.9 million, $9.5 million of which has been sold since 18 June 2021.

RPMGlobal expects to finish FY21 with software subscription TCV of $47.7 million (up from $34.5 million in FY20), an increase of $7.3 million from 18 June 2021.

The company’s annual recurring revenue (ARR) from software subscription is $21.9 million per annum.

Perpetual software license sold during FY21 finished at $5.2 million (down from $6.9 million in FY20), $2.2 million has been sold since 18 June 2021.

QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE)

The QBE share price dropped 0.6% today after an announcement about some proceedings.

The ASX 200 global insurer was made aware that Strand Fitness and others have filed a representative proceeding against QBE in the Federal Court of Australia.

These proceedings allege that QBE wrongfully denied cover to certain policyholders during the COVID-19 pandemic for losses arising from business interruption.

QBE said the allegations will be defended.

The insurer said the issues raised in these proceedings appear to be substantially similar to those currently before the Australian courts in the second industry test case and QBE’s own Federal Court proceeding against Educational World Travel in liquidation and its liquidator.

QBE stated it’s committed to applying the rulings of the courts in the industry test cases when assessing claims. It’s satisfied that its reserving in respect of business interruption claims remain robust.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended RPMGlobal Holdings. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended RPMGlobal Holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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