The federal government has implemented various measures in the past two years to ensure public confidence in the banking and financial services industry, but a royal commission was ultimately unavoidable, according to Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar.
Pointing to the measures implemented by Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer, Sukkar told the Pritchitt Partners annual reception in Sydney yesterday: “Our view’s always been that those tangible measures that we put in place to problems that were reasonably well understood and the problems that we felt could be dealt with will now be enhanced in some way, shape or form by the royal commission.
“And now we must use this as an opportunity to inwardly reflect and ensure that we come out of it in a way that means that those on the street don’t talk about members [of the industry] like they do politicians.”
He also acknowledged the amount of regulatory change the banking and financial services industry has had to endure over the past few years, saying the industry should not be subject to harsh criticism from the public.
“We’re [politicians] happy to take the slings and arrows – it shouldn’t be [flung] on our banking and financial services industry,” he said.
Looking forward into 2018, he said the government’s focus in financial services would include further measures to raise the education, training and ethical standards of financial advisers, addressing illegal phoenixing, introducing an open banking regime and legislating for mandatory comprehensive credit reporting.
“In some respects, government should neither be friend nor foe to the industry other than to allow you and give you everything you need to go out there and protect and manage the wealth of Australians in a way that instils confidence, but, most importantly, grows that wealth,” he said.