Australia

Topic: Superannuation

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Financial services monthly wrap up – June 2019

In June 2019 ASIC released its estimates for the Industry Funding levy for the 2018-19 financial year. Further, ASIC and APRA have formally commenced consultation on product intervention powers and product responsibility under the Banking Executive Accountability Regime respectively. 1 July 2019 also marks the commencement date of a variety of new and updated legislation … Continue Reading

APRA’s review of the superannuation prudential framework

On 23 May 2018 APRA announced that it would conduct a review of the superannuation prudential framework that was introduced in 2013 as part of the Stronger Super reforms.[1] The consultation is scheduled to take place over a four-month period and involve both formal and informal feedback from stakeholders across the superannuation industry. The structure … Continue Reading

Possibility of extending the claws of BEAR

As the financial sector waits for the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to fully awaken the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) through the provision of further guidelines, there is already a lot of chatter as to whether BEAR should be extended beyond its initial coverage of APRA-regulated Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs). The Parliamentary Joint Committee … Continue Reading

Encouraging results on consumers’ perception of banks

In April 2016, the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) initiated the Banking Reform Program – Better Banking (Program).[1]   The Program was developed to protect consumer interests, increase transparency and accountability, and to build consumer trust and confidence in banks through a range of initiatives. Edelman Intelligence has conducted two rounds of consumer research studies to track … Continue Reading

Royal Commission into Misconduct in Financial Services

The much anticipated Royal Commission was no surprise to the Australian banking industry.  What was surprising was the extension of its terms of reference to local and foreign deposit-taking institutions, life and general insurers, superannuation funds, as well as asset managers, financial planning businesses and all other holders of Australian financial services licences.  Let there … Continue Reading

Annual Financial Institution Symposium

Norton Rose Fulbright is pleased to offer you a rare opportunity to hear from some of the leading voices in risk and disruption. We will be hosting our annual Financial Institutions Symposium in our Sydney office on Thursday 27 October 2016. Discussion will focus on current ‘Risks & Disruptors’ in the global technology and regulatory … Continue Reading

Product suitability obligation and intervention powers to be fast-tracked: Government responds to calls for Royal Commission into the banks

In response to Opposition calls for a Royal Commission into the banking sector, the Australian Government has announced a $127 million reform package aimed at increasing the powers of Australia’s corporate watchdog, ASIC. A key component of that package will be the accelerated implementation of two key recommendations of the Financial System Inquiry: an obligation on … Continue Reading

ASIC consults on online calculators – an opportunity for regulatory innovation

The drive towards automated financial services will gather pace in 2016 and here’s the next opportunity to influence the debate. After updating its relief to better facilitate electronic delivery of mandated disclosure and the use of innovative product disclosure statements (see RG 221), ASIC has released Consultation Paper CP 249 Remaking ASIC class order on generic … Continue Reading

The Paris Agreement: Moving from climate conscious to climate compliance

This blog post was co-authored by Phoebe Saintilan The ‘Paris Agreement’ was adopted on 12 December 2015 at the COP 21 UN Climate Change Conference (Conference). It may potentially herald the end of the fossil fuel era and a global move towards a low carbon future and renewable energy. This will undoubtedly influence the decisions … Continue Reading

Government response to the Financial System Inquiry

Government releases its Response to FSI Final Report. The Australian Government has released its Response to last December’s Final Report of the Financial System Inquiry or ‘Murray Inquiry’. The Government appears to have accepted almost all of the Inquiry’s recommendations and has also proposed additional measures that are consistent with the Murray Inquiry’s underlying philosophy. … Continue Reading

Financial Services Tomorrow…

We are on the cusp of a new era in the evolution of the financial services industry. New technology, data analytics and behavioural economics are promising to revolutionise the customer experience. If the regulators remove the regulatory barriers, then using multi-media to deliver mandated and voluntary disclosure in different formats and through different devices will … Continue Reading

Regulatory disruption

Technology led innovation can cause much indigestion for conduct and prudential regulators as they try to find the right regulatory pigeion hole for innovators in their regimes that were not built to handle such innovation.  It is this disruptive impact of innovation that is shaping the regulation of tomorrow. Numerous conduct regulators around the world have acknowledged that a mandatory … Continue Reading

Innovation and Disruption

Financial Institution Symposium  Technology-led innovation has the potential to truly disrupt existing business models and distribution channels in the financial services industry. In Australia and more broadly, we have seen start-ups build innovative payment systems, peer-to-peer lending platforms, crypto-currencies, robo-advice and automated investment management. However, the large institutions are well capitalised, have large customer bases … Continue Reading

FSI Consumer Protection Recommendation 26: Insurance disclosure tools and calculators

The FSI referred to studies undertaken after natural disasters revealing inadvertent underinsurance due to consumers struggling to make an informed decision about the sum insured.  Survey results highlight that even when consumers take the time to read insurance documentation, including the product disclosure statement, many misunderstand it, scan it briefly due to over-reliance on sales … Continue Reading

FSI Consumer Protection Recommendation 25: Raising the competency of advisers

The FSI has recommended that the competency of financial advice providers be raised and an enhanced register of advisers introduced.  The Government is currently considering mechanisms to raise minimum education requirements for financial advisers and the FSI recommends that this be prioritised. The FSI found that the minimum standards are currently too low which affects … Continue Reading

FSI Consumer Protection Recommendation 24 : Aligning with the interests of consumers

The FSI identified the need to better align the interests of financial services providers with those of consumers to ensure better consumer outcomes. The following strategies have been recommended to address some underlying issues: Raising standards of conduct and levels of professionalism: This aims to address concerns regarding organisational cultures that do not focus on … Continue Reading

FSI Consumer Protection Recommendation 22: Product intervention powers

The FSI has recommended that ASIC be granted a product intervention power to enable it to take a more proactive approach to reducing the risk of significant detriment to consumers.  Specifically, this new power would allow the regulator to intervene to require or impose: amendments to marketing and disclosure material; warnings to consumers, and labelling … Continue Reading

FSI Consumer Protection Recommendation 21: A targeted and principles-based product design and distribution obligation

The FSI shares concerns raised by ASIC that consumers are buying products that do not match their needs. The existing regulatory framework relies heavily on disclosure, financial advice and financial literacy. However, disclosure can be ineffective for a number of reasons, such as complexity of documents and misaligned interests. The FSI also considers that current … Continue Reading

Product governance and a proactive, interventionist regulator: the consumer protection recommendations of the Financial Systems Inquiry

The release of the final report of the Financial Systems Inquiry (FSI) brings us a step closer to a significant shift in conduct regulation in Australia.  As we have previously reported, Australia seems set to join a UK and European trend away from regulation driven by disclosure  towards an approach where product providers bear the responsibility … Continue Reading

The Murray Inquiry – Technology and cybersecurity

As with the Murray Inquiry’s Interim Report, the Final Report highlights cyber security and technology related fraud risks as an emerging trend for the financial services industry that presents many challenges. At the forefront of the risks that arise is the rapid pace of technological change that is occurring within the financial system and how … Continue Reading

The Murray Inquiry – Taxation

The Murray Inquiry’s Final Report has identified a number of taxes that distort the allocation of funding and risk in the economy. It also indicated that the major review of Australia’s taxation system currently being undertaken – the Tax White Paper due for release in 2015 – should consider reform in these areas. However, consistent … Continue Reading

The Murray Inquiry – Innovation, Technology and Regulators

The Murray Inquiry’s Final Report strongly endorsed facilitating innovation in the financial services industry and technology neutral approach to regulation of financial services providers. The Report recommends the establishment of a permanent public–private sector collaborative committee, the ‘Innovation Collaboration’, to facilitate financial system innovation. This is similar to the ‘Innovation Hub’ initiative by the UK’s … Continue Reading

The Murray Inquiry – Superannuation

The Murray Inquiry’s Final Report was a mixed bag for the super industry, with some recommendations going some way toward addressing the needs of industry and consumers but with many of the hard decisions left for another day and another review. Improving efficiency The Inquiry clearly has reservations about the effectiveness of the Stronger Super … Continue Reading

The Murray Inquiry – International competitiveness and the funds management sector

The Murray Inquiry’s Final Report brings good news for the funds management sector and its desire to compete internationally.  This is described as a priority area of reform and Government action as it is a key component of getting the blueprint right for the Australian financial system into the future. The Inquiry’s rationale for supporting … Continue Reading
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