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Constructively tough, law enforcing, significant risk averting super regulators back for FINSIA’s signature event

by Lewis Panther | 18 Sep 2019
Constructively tough, enforcing the law and significant risks to the system.

They’re likely to be the most used phrases on the lips of The Regulators.

FINSIA’s signature event will see three of the most powerful policymakers in the financial services on stage together outlining their vision of 2020.

ASIC deputy chair Karen Chester will join RBA deputy governor Guy Debelle and APRA deputy chair John Lonsdale - who both spoke at last year’s event in Melbourne - when it returns to Sydney in November.

And the fifth annual event looks like being the most eye-opening to date.

A series of inquiries culminating in the Royal Commission - with the government’s determination to fast track Kenneth Hayne’s recommendations, and external pressures on the economy - have left them facing unparalleled levels of scrutiny.

But they have responded with a declared determination to tackle the criticism head on.

FINSIA chief executive Chris Whitehead F FIN said he was delighted the Regulators was being held while they were going through a period of such scrutiny.

He said: “The Regulators are going though a period of radical change - largely driven by a series of inquiries into financial services, culminating in the Royal Commission.
“The criticism they are facing for not acting on poor conduct has highlighted a real need to change to meet the expectations from government and the public. 

“One or more of the three peak bodies who will be attending our fifth annual Regulators event seem to be in the news on a daily basis.

“Whether it is to hear them outline focus for the next four years or deal with the fallout from Commissioner Hayne’s inquiry, there is an avalanche of information circulating about them.

“APRA and ASIC are telling us they have adopted a new get-tough approach and the RBA is having to deal with historic levels of low interest rates.

“So it will be great to hear from them in person about the year ahead.”

Karen Chester, who has been in her role at ASIC since January after leading the Productivity Commission’s three-year inquiry into competition and efficiency in the $2.7 trillion superannuation system, embodies the new get-tough approach being adopted at ASIC.

By March, she was announcing that the corporate regulator was considering legal action against 30 underperforming super funds.

“We're not waiting for any further legislative reform. We're going to start enforcing the law,” she said.

“If a fund has a persistently underperforming product, or they themselves have persistently underperformed over the long term, and they have not done anything to address that, we're going to enforce the law. 

“ASIC is underway. We are looking to litigate."

John Lonsdale, who has been in the role of Deputy Governor at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority since last October, is responsible for oversight on culture and remuneration, including implementing the Banking Executive Accountability Regime.

The 30-year veteran at the Treasury notably outlined APRA’s new tougher approach to dealing with the financial services sector earlier this month.

He said: “Getting ‘constructively tough’ is not only about taking stronger action earlier where banks, insurers and super licensees break the law, or fail to behave in an open and cooperative manner with us. 

“It also means setting public examples where it is appropriate to do so and there’s no risk to financial stability."

Guy Debelle, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, is also likely to be talking about tough decisions being considered by the RBA.

Quantitative easing is one of the measures talked about as a way of kick-starting the economy in the wake of the slowdown influenced by the US-China trade war, Brexit and other geopolitical risks like Hong Kong and Australia’s relationship with China.“The current threats to the system are a significant risk to both Australia and the world,” he said.

REGISTER NOW to attend the FINSIA Regulators Signature Event

Words from Chris Whitehaed, FINSIA CEO


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