Australia

Royal Commission Report Implementation Timeline

Despite some media criticism relating to the pace of change following the Royal Commission review, it now appears that a clearer timeline is emerging as Government Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has detailed the implementation timetable.

Speaking on the Money News Show, Frydenberg committed to implementing more than 20 recommendations by the end of 2019 (about a third of the government’s pledges), another 50 commitments by mid-2020 and the rest by the end of 2020.  The timeline is ambitious given many of the commitments require new or amended legislation, but critics of the progress to date (or lack of it) are easy to find.  A simple review of post-show Twitter comments highlights a serious dose of cynicism within the general public who are calling for greater transparency and accountability within our banking and financial services industries.  One common theme amongst the more rational and printable comments was a general desire to see faster progress in schemes such as BEAR.  But progress is being made.

Within the last week, ASIC announced it has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against National Australia Bank for breaches of the law arising from failures with its Introducer Program.  These proceedings relate to the conduct of 16 bankers accepting loan information and documentation from 25 unlicensed introducers in relation to 297 loans.  At the same time, ASIC has approved changes to the AFCA rules to allow the scheme to name financial firms in published determinations.

Comments such as “delays are just giving bankers more time to think of new ways to rip off customers” (another Twitter theme) show the public frustration levels.  However, as Frydenberg said, the industry is “on notice, the public’s tolerance has been exhausted”.  There now appears to be a recognition that external independent oversight is required.

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