Labor pledges to extend royal commission

The federal opposition's proposed royal commission into banking and financial services would be extended to corporate regulators as well under a plan laid out by shadow treasurer Chris Bowen yesterday. 

Speaking at the FSC Leaders Summit in Sydney yesterday, Mr Bowen said Labor's proposed Royal Commission would be "a prudent and timely examination of our financial regulation architecture".

"I want the Royal Commission to recommend what is necessary to stop banking scandals, but also given our changing circumstances in Australia in recent years, that roles and accountabilities of our regulatory authorities remain transparent and continue to be properly understood and scrutinised," Mr Bowen said.

Mr Bowen said it had been more than 20 years since the Wallis Report made recommendations to APRA or ASIC.

Rising levels of household debt, the "ad hoc nature of the changes" in regulation, and the rise and implications of fintech were cited as reasons for reconsidering the regulation of financial systems.

APRA's responsibilities lay with prudential regulation, not macroeconomic stability, which it has increasingly had a role in due to rising debt in the household sector, Mr Bowen said.

The shadow treasurer voiced his concerns about the blurring of accountability between ASIC and APRA following the new powers given to APRA by the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) of the Turnbull government.

"ASIC has typically led on these conduct issues, but since the budget, APRA’s responsibilities will now include undertaking similar roles," he said.

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