Enhancing accountability

Restoring trust in our financial system will require lasting change in the culture, governance and remuneration practices of financial firms. Boards and executives in these firms will need to drive this change and the Government is committed to holding them accountable if they fail to act.

A key measure is to extend the existing Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) to all APRAregulated entities, including insurers and superannuation funds. This will ensure the senior executives and directors of these entities are held to the same heightened standards of accountability imposed on banks and their senior leadership. The Government will also extend the accountability regime to a broader range of conduct and non-prudentially regulated entities to be administered by ASIC.

The Government is also creating a new disciplinary system for financial advisers that will include a single, central disciplinary body. The new body will be responsible for the registration, monitoring and sanctioning of financial advisers. This Royal Commission recommendation builds on the Government’s professional standards reforms to raise the educational, training and ethical standards of financial advisers. The Government will proceed with monitoring of the Code of Ethics introduced as part of those reforms, which require financial advisers, from 15 November 2019, to subscribe to a code monitoring body that will enforce the Code of Ethics from 1 January 2020.

The Government committed more than $35 million in the 2019-20 Budget to enable the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Australia to expand to include corporate crime. The funding will support the appointment of two additional judges, additional registry and support staff as well as the construction of new court facilities for the hearing of criminal proceedings. This will ensure that those who engage in financial sector criminal misconduct are prosecuted and face the appropriate punishment for their actions in a timely manner.