In 2014, the boss of the nation's corporate watchdog said Australia was a "paradise" for white collar crime, due to weak penalties.
conomist John Adams's analysis of investigations by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) suggests things may have worsened.
He alleges that fewer than 1 per cent of complaints are going on to be investigated.
"The impact is that potential predators in the market have more confidence to actually engage in illegal activity," said the former advisor to former Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos.
By business reporter Daniel Ziffer