Royal Commission Would Include Work of Regulators

A repeated call by the Federal Opposition for a Royal Commission into banking and financial services, which would also include an examination of the work of regulators, has been rejected by the Federal Government and the Financial Services Council (FSC).

Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen

Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen

Addressing the FSC Leaders Summit, Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said no-one could defend the poor industry practices which led to ‘successive scandals’ and the Opposition wanted to ensure the regulatory, policy and cultural settings were in place to avoid future problems.

Bowen said this meant dealing with the evolving architecture of financial regulation and the roles and accountabilities of regulators remained transparent and properly scrutinised by Government.

“I am not proposing another full blown inquiry into the operation of our financial system – this was done recently – but that the Royal Commission deal with developments in financial regulation more broadly, and won’t just be in relation to poor behaviour,” Bowen said.

He also said that while the Financial Systems Inquiry two and a half years ago had made no recommendations to change the way ASIC and APRA operated, the ad hoc nature of legislative and regulatory changes since that time, and the rise of fintech, required a further examination of their work.

“…the Royal Commission has become an inquiry looking for something to inquire about”

“Given what has changed over the last couple of years and even in the last twelve months alone, the time is ripe for a proper, considered and comprehensive examination of our institutional arrangements – of the financial system architecture,” Bowen said.

This call was rejected the next day by the Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, who also addressed the Summit saying there had “…been a host of actions, inquiries and new bodies set up by this Government in response to those scandals”.

O’Dwyer added the Opposition was “…moving the goalposts of their proposed inquiry to new areas such as FinTech and looking at how our regulators work” and “…the Royal Commission has become an inquiry looking for something to inquire about”.

“We don’t want to see a repeat of these scandals. But nor do we need a formal, legalistic, endless talkfest following on from the sensible and considered reviews and reforms the Government has already put in place,” O”Dwyer said.

FSC CEO, Sally Loane

FSC CEO, Sally Loane

FSC Chief Executive, Sally Loane also questioned the purpose of a Royal Commission into the banking and financial services sector pointing out there had been 18 different reviews and inquires since 2007.

“Chris Bowen outlined Labor’s planned Royal Commission, making it clear that all superannuation funds would be included whilst also adding that they would do a stock take of APRA and ASIC. We would question why this couldn’t be done with a more simple inquiry, instead of an expensive and time-consuming vehicle like a Royal Commission,” Loane said in her address to the Summit.

“Our sector has undertaken substantial reform and remediation and our view is that a Royal Commission into financial services is not necessary,” Loane added.

  • John Galt

    Labour’s plan outlined by Chris Bowen was an absolute load of drivel and highlighted to voters and industry just how out of touch the labour party is.

    @Riskinfo – this shouldn’t be making news! A piece on Peter Costello’s FSC conference address and his refreshingly accurate insights into the world and financial services woes makes for far more thought provoking and newsworthy reading!

    • Ken

      Funny though John how we get a scathing reply from one of the Architects of this mess we are in when it is suggested that the processed that derived this latest range of issues including commission disl downs be investigated as to how they were arrived st their viability.
      Where there is smoke there’s fire

  • Jeremy Wright

    An examination of the whole process of how we ended up with the outrageous regulations and restriction of trade enforced upon Life advisers, that emanated from all those reviews and enquiries, sounds like a good idea, though another review or enquiry will fail the sensible test, based on the past history of these and the result will be more of the same, unless the truth becomes part of the equation and people are held accountable for their opinions that continually are pushed forward by these faceless people sitting within Lobby groups and who hide behind a veil of lies, with NO chance of prosecution.


  • BKY

    Labour Labour Labour…they are labouring…it is labouring just thinking of their very existence…I thought free enterprise was when a company wants to manufacture a product based on market research and demand and then develop distribution channels to “sell”…ooppps there’s that dirty word…that product to the market in a bid to make a profit…how dare banks and institutions care about their shareholder’s so much…oh wait…that’s because it is written into every Australian companies constitution that the number one responsibility of directors is to its shareholders by delivering dividends and where do dividends comes from???…PROFIT…how dare they…wake up to yourself Shorten and Bowen and stop trying to gain power via a majority made up of minorities…but I guess that’s they way you have always done it. I vote for a Royal Commission into the Labour Party in general and the back yard preferencing that goes on the ballet paper… As for O’Dwyer mentioning anything about moving goal-posts…well isn’t that just the pot calling the kettle black…

    If Bowen wants to investigate anything why doesn’t he start with the Industry funds’ blatant disobedience of the new SIS rules adopted on 1 July 2014…i.e.”benefits needing to align with SIS conditions of release”…I see one such super fund has kept the “Loss of Use” definitions in their PDS…BUT added a clause that says that the Life insured will still need to meet the condition of release for it to be paid”…sounds a little bit like misleading & deceptive conduct to me…some may disagree…

    • John Galt

      Great commentary BKY. Were it just Labour this might all be a laughable flash in the pan we could ride out, but the socialist, populism that seems to permeate our very society these days is everywhere. As Jeremy says, it’s these faceless people sitting in lobby groups that actually have no real world experience, flapping and quacking. Common sense no longer prevails.