Recessionberg undertakes bogus Hayne bank reform

Via the ABC:

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has revealed an “implementation road map” around the 54 recommendations from the financial services royal commission that called for Government action.

The final report from commissioner Kenneth Hayne made 76 recommendations, 54 of which were directed at the Government, which has been accused of dragging its feet in response to the commission.

In what is described as a “full implementation road map”, Mr Frydenberg said more than a third of the Government’s commitments in response to the final report will have been implemented or will have legislation before Parliament by the end of this year.

He said more than 50 of the 54 commitments will have been implemented or be subject to legislation by the middle of next year.

The Government’s strategy is that the remaining four recommendations needing legislation will have been introduced by the end of 2020.

Compensation, crackdowns and overhauls

The remaining 22 recommendations from the royal commission were aimed at regulators and the finance industry.

The release of the timetable comes with a commitment to independently review the impact of the changes in three years’ time. There is no reference to what independent expert or body would conduct the review.

The Treasurer said the scale of the reforms detailed in the Government’s implementation plan represented the biggest shake-up of the financial sector in three decades.

“There is no understating the importance of the royal commission and its findings to the critical task of restoring trust in Australia’s financial institutions,” Mr Frydenberg said.

The Government’s royal commission response is being billed as the most comprehensive corporate and financial services law reform since the 1990s, when the Corporate Law Economic Reform Program (CLERP) was introduced.

“The roadmap released by the Government underlines our determination to bring about change to the financial system by implementing the commission’s recommendations swiftly and effectively,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“Achieving this ambitious timetable will require additional resourcing that the Government has committed to, as well as Parliament dealing with the reforms constructively and with a sense of urgency.”

The banks’ fourth circle of hell

A key reason cited by the Government for delayed action is that Federal Parliament has only sat for 21 days since the final report was received in February this year.

Since the royal commission’s final report was released in February, 15 commitments from the Government’s initial response have been implemented.

This comprises eight of the 54 recommendations the report directed at the Government and seven additional commitments initiated independently by the Government as part of its response.

In a statement, the Treasurer said there were 24 streams of work underway to expediate the Government’s response to the royal commission.

An extra $9.3 million has been provided to Treasury and the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in addition to $12.1 million provided in the May Budget.

The release of the Government’s timetable for action came as the Australian Securities and Investment Commission continues to investigate potential criminal breaches outlined in the final report, which could result in referrals of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Frydenberg cites two previous reforms — the Future of Financial Advice and the Cooper Review into the superannuation system — as having longer legislative timelines after being tabled in Parliament.

ASIC is on the move, at the AFR:

ASIC is planning a litigation blitz in coming months as it puts up to 50 matters into the courts, many of them arising from the Hayne royal commission.

…Mr Crennan would not be drawn on which cases would be first, but fees-for-no service has long been considered the obvious launching pad for Hayne litigation. This is partly because the damning admissions before the commissioner increase the prospect of convictions.

The banks are trembling, not, from Karen Moley:

There was a time when the country’s top bankers would have toasted their latest victory against the regulator by heading to the nearest swank city restaurant and ordering copious quantities of the finest wagyu steak and bottles of vintage shiraz with which to drink the health of Justice Nye Perram.

But these are more sombre times, and our bank bosses were forced to forego any overt celebration of Westpac’s stunning victory against the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Instead, they’re privately celebrating this tentative sign that the roiling tide of anti-bank sentiment is finally beginning to recede.

“It’s a very important decision,” says the chairman of one of the country’s largest financial institutions. He adds that bankers around the country will be reassured by the Federal Court’s ruling, saying that ASIC’s stance “has been stopping them from lending”.

Banking legend Ian Rogers sums it up:

The Federal Government is set to announce its road map in response to the Banking Royal Commission today.

It will not be a reformist document.

The ‘in your face, barely anything’s changed’ ethic is everywhere in finance in Australia.

It’s as if Ken Hayne’s royal commission, ignored with such contempt by most of those feeding off the mortgage supply chain since his report landed in February, never took place.

Conflicted remuneration remains part and parcel of Australian finance and it will soon recolonise financial planning.

With APRA having proven itself to be a complete and utter patsy at their sanctioning of Commonwealth Bank last year and showing no spine this year as the self-assessments percolate into the public domain, where is the trust and confidence in an industry that’s wilfully withheld material of the utmost importance from the capital market and depositors?

Banking in Australia is a tired industry, its credibility shot.

Unpublished self-assessments must be published today. Immediately.

Listed banks and insurers still defying the public interest – Bendigo, AMP, Suncorp – will not be trading on the ASX this morning if their assessments do not land by the time the market opens soon.

ASIC will be as equal a rack and ruin as APRA if does not throw these miscreants the book.

On the whole the Australian banking industry is poorly run, poorly regarded, managers have no productivity story to fall back on, and bank governance and any conversations around corruption all leave much to be desired.

Bankwest is still a machine rather than a subset of the CBA list. Same with St George and Westpac.

The Sydney banking scene is a disgraced legacy. Optimising these four enterprises was an obvious industry priority, one demanded by the needs of the customers that banking is there to serve.

Banking in Australia needs to be about one really big brand and a monumental, massive shared services platform.

Sydney banks were talking shared services, once, many times.

Josh Frydenberg’s road map today will have little to do with this week’s conversations on a brighter platform for banking,

Sadly Hayne left the issue of the HEM to the Federal Court. And it failed. It is great that the banks will face the music for their various indiscretions but the big one, mortgage fraud, will go unpunished and resume.

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