Financial services over-regulated, minister concedes

A federal government minister has praised the financial services industry for being “bombarded” with burdensome levels of government regulation.

Speaking at an event hosted by financial services public relations firm Pritchitt Partners in Sydney on Wednesday night, assistant minister to the treasurer Michael Sukkar admitted that the industry faces a high regulatory burden, opening up about the balancing act policymakers seek to tread.

“I take my hat off to you with the amount of regulation and things that you have to put up with,” Mr Sukkar said, directing his comments broadly at the financial services industry.

Asked by ifa to clarify the statement and whether he may have specific regulations he would like to see repealed, the seasoned politician did not take the bait.

“You know I can’t give you a personal answer on that, and this is really within the responsibilities of Kelly O’Dwyer, but that throw-away line I don’t walk away from,” he said.

“You are a highly regulated industry, many would argue rightfully so, and what we always need to do is balance the twin objectives of making sure no one talks about anyone who works in financial services like they talk about us bloody politicians; [and] engendering that respect and engendering that trust without killing the goose that laid the golden egg by just bombarding you with more regulation.”

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Mr Sukkar did, however, accept that governments all too often get the balance wrong, though he stopped short of accepting responsibility on the part of the current federal government.

“Every time something bad happens, what do governments do? We say we’re going to come in and fix it; we’re going to remove all risk by bombarding ever more regulation,” he said.

“I don’t think that we’ve done that necessarily, but we’ve also got to be careful and we should always start from the premise that you are a highly regulated industry, and if we start at that premise hopefully Parliament won’t be so keen to just swamp you with more and more.”

The comments follow a decade of new legislation and regulations affecting financial advisers including FOFA, the Life Insurance Framework, the mandatory professional standards regime, multiple government inquiries and a soon-to-commence royal commission.

Financial services over-regulated, minister concedes
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