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Led by award-winning consumer advocate Denise Brailey, BFCSA (Inc) are a group of people who are concerned about the appalling growth of Loan Fraud around the world. BFCSA (Inc) is a not for profit organisation in the spirit of global community concern and justice.

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Mortgage ‘prisoners’ will challenge Scott Morrison’s new-look Liberals The Australian 8:20am August 27, 2018 Robert Gottliebsen   The “new generation” government led by Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg will soon encounter a set of events in the housing market that have not been seen by any politician for almost three decades. And I doubt whether Treasury Secretary Philip Gaetjens will be fully aware of the latest developments when he briefs new Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. The new government is well aware of energy morass, the drought, and the breakdown of proper administration by the Australian Taxation Office in small business (new small business minister Michaelia Cash has one of the most important jobs in cabinet), the trade war and a range of similar issues. But what is unlikely to have reached Treasury is what’s happening on the coalface in one of the biggest economic drivers in the land: housing. First, let’s examine...
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  Banks end mortgage broker bonuses in response to banking royal commission Australian Financial Review Aug 27 2018 11:00 PM James Eyers   Banks have stopped paying mortgage brokers bonus commissions based on the volume of loans sold – and by the end of the year won't be able to spend more than $350 entertaining any individual broker at an event. The changes are in response to the corporate regulator's concerns that rewarding top performers with lavish trips and extra pay created conflicts of interest and encouraged customers to borrow too much. In a report on progress responding to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's scathing report last year on culture and conduct problems created by broker incentives in the $1.5 trillion home loan market, the Combined Industry Forum – a group of banks, brokers and lobby groups – said volume-based bonus payments have now been abolished. The forum is also...
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Banking royal commission: Hayne unveils insurance hit list Australian Financial Review Aug 27 2018 7:19 PM James Frost   The Hayne royal commission's insurance company hit list has been revealed with the big players and industry bodies compelled to appear including AMP, IAG and the Financial Services Council. The royal commission said the purpose of the hearings was to consider issues "with the sale and design of life insurance and general insurance products, the handling of claims under life insurance and general insurance policies, and the administration of life insurance by superannuation trustees". The inquiry will explore these themes under three categories: life insurance, general insurance and the regulatory regime. AMP, Clearview, Comminsure, Freedom Insurance and TAL will appear in the life insurance portion alongside $50 billion superannuation giant REST. Companies expected to produce witnesses for the general insurance round include AAI (Suncorp), the German-owned Allianz, IAG and Youi. This bracket...
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Coalition abandons push to reform super fund boards Australian Financial Review Aug 27 2018 11:00 PM Phillip Coorey   EXCLUSIVE  The federal government has dumped long-standing plans to dilute union and employer group influence on industry super fund boards after the damage done to retail funds by the Hayne royal commission ended any prospect of securing Senate support. The Australian Financial Review understands the decision to dump the policy was taken before the change of prime minister last week from Malcolm Turnbull to Scott Morrison. The decision will not be reversed by the new Morrison regime, under which it remains unclear which minister will have responsibility for super. In Sunday's ministerial reshuffle, the cabinet portfolio of Revenue and Financial Services, held by Kelly O'Dwyer, was abolished and rolled into Treasury, now held by Josh Frydenberg. Mr Frydenberg will be assisted by newly-promoted junior minister Stuart Robert, who is the new Assistant...
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Banking royal commission: IOOF slammed, but where was APRA? Australian Financial ReviewAug 27 2018 1:17 PM Chanticleer   When IOOF chief executive Chris Kelaher took to the witness boxat the royal commission on August 10, two things started happening. First, IOOF's share price started a slide that has seen its market value fall by 6 per cent. And within ANZ Bank's wealth division, which was last year sold to IOOF in a $4.5 billion deal, a flurry of text messages between key executives grew more concerned as Kelaher's answers veered between combative, dismissive, exasperated and abrupt. One source says the ANZ wealth executives had one main reaction: We have to work for this bloke? Those concerns won't be diminished at all by the closing submissions from the royal commission's round of hearings on superannuation, which argue that the issues that "Mr Kelaher appeared to lack insight into" include how IOOF "had...
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Julie Bishop governor-general push: Labor vows to oppose plan The Australian 7:39am August 28, 2018 Andrew Burrell   Bill Shorten has attempted to shut down plans to install Julie Bishop as the next governor-general by demanding Scott Morrison extend Peter Cosgrove’s five-year term until after the next election. The Opposition Leader yesterday wrote to the new Prime Minister to declare his opposition to Ms Bishop, who resigned as foreign minister on Sunday and moved to the backbench, amid suggestions she could be handed the coveted vice-regal role next year. Her supporters argue she would be an ideal candidate to replace Sir Peter, who is paid $425,000 a year, when his term expires next March. Mr Shorten wants to make his own appointment if he wins the election, which is due by May.  “They’ve got rocks in their head if they think we’ll support Julie Bishop for governor-­general,” a Labor source said...
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Row over $150bn in super ‘cash’ The Australian 12:00am August 27, 2018 Anthony Klan  Superannuation funds have invested about $150 billion — a sum one-third the size of the entire ­national debt — of the public’s “cash” retirement savings into assets that are riskier or less liquid than the legal requirement. The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority has said all money earmarked by super members for “cash” investments must be invested in “cash or cash-like” investments, which meet the definitions set out in super and accounting standards. However, investigations by The Australian can reveal 80 per cent or more of about $190bn invested with the major super funds as “cash” is invested in higher-risk or less liquid products which do not meet the APRA requirements and the accounting standards. The miscategorising of cash investments runs across all the major super sector types, including industry or not-for-profit funds and the for-profit retail funds,...
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Royal commission reveals why banks can’t be trusted with super The Australian 12:00am August 27, 2018 Sally McManus Sally McManus is secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.   When it comes to super, the evidence out of the banking royal commission is clear — Australia’s banks and for-profit retail super funds should not be allowed anywhere near the retirement savings of working people. When commissioner Kenneth Hayne turned the spotlight on the superannuation industry, some people in the government, Peter Dutton among them, thought it would call time on ­industry super funds. But what has emerged is very different. Not-for-profit industry funds have been revealed as the best-performing, most ethical option for Australia’s retirement savings, whereas for-profit retail funds, owned by banks, have been ripping off customers in the name of corporate profits. From the outset it appeared bank-owned funds sought to obscure the extent of their wrongdoing. The...
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Customer comes last as NAB tries to put a cap on compo The Australian 12:00am August 27, 2018 Pamela Williams   Four months ago, as the royal commission into banking misconduct threw a bleak early winter over the financial services industry, the chairman of ASIC, James Shipton, met with the chief executive of National Australia Bank, Andrew Thorburn. On the table at the April 26 meeting was one hefty subject: an investigation by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission into the compliance of banks and financial services companies reporting potential breaches of the law. The new head of ASIC, Shipton was softly spoken, but his message to Thorburn was a sharp and unwelcome contrast to NAB’s public message of “customers first”. Thorburn could not have been surprised as NAB had already received ASIC’s briefing planner for the meeting. It stated: “ASIC will likely seek further engagement with NAB about the extent...
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New NAB scandal revealed in bank's quiet appeal Australian Financial Review Aug 26 2018 11:00 PM Adele Ferguson   On the same day National Australia Bank was being pummelled in the royal commission over its role in the fees-for-no-services scandal, it instructed its lawyers to lodge an appeal on a separate but similar matter. It was a decision that would keep the case away from the royal commission – and the media's – glare. Or so NAB might have thought. The case related to a ruling from the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT), which doesn't identify the names of super funds or complainants. It meant NAB could quietly lodge an appeal in the Federal Court undetected, unless someone happened to join the dots. But the July 3 SCT determination was too important to ignore. It was a landmark decision that required the trustee of the super fund to not just pay almost...
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Banking royal commission: CBA and NAB ‘committed crimes’ The Australian 8:46pm August 24, 2018 Ben Butler, Michael Roddan   The nation’s largest lender, Commonwealth Bank, committed more than 13,000 crimes and the National Australia Bank also broke criminal laws, counsel assisting the banking royal commission, Michael Hodge QC, said on Friday night. And the regulators responsible for overseeing the nation’s $2.6 trillion super pile, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission, have also been tarred as failures in a scathing submission to commissioner Kenneth Hayne by Mr Hodge, who suggested a new regulator may be needed to clean up the sector. While the royal commission has been told it is open to find numerous instances of criminal breaches of financial services laws by bank-run retail super funds, the inquiry fell short of recommending significant findings against union-and-employer-backed industry funds, such as AustralianSuper, which were hauled in...
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ANZ’s Shayne Elliott: inquiry revelations good for banks The Australian 12:00am August 24, 2018 Richard Gluyas ANZ chief executive Shayne ­Elliott has no regrets in calling for the establishment of the ­financial services royal commission, despite the hearings fuelling public anger and mistrust of the industry. Responding to questions in a video streamed on Facebook yesterday, Mr Elliott said the ­evidence given at the commission was confronting, both for ANZ and other financial services ­companies. “(But) it’s better that that stuff is out in the open and we can deal with it,” he said. “It’s not a pleasant experience for our people, not just for our witnesses but for our staff every day having to listen to that and being accused of some pretty horrendous things. But sunlight is a good cure. It’s out in the open. We’ve ­accepted accountability and ­responsibility for it and we’ve ­already started remediating things.” The...
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Turnbull’s shame: being slain by such halfwits Australian Financial Review Aug 22 2018 7:10 PM Joe Aston   The Canberra Press Gallery – and indeed an entire micro-economy festering on capital hill, sustained by its heinous, perennial revue – has more red meat on its plate than it knows what to do with. We don't intend to expend much time or space repeating what's already been said (though, what's still left on the table surprises us). Long mocked and caricatured as a figure of Dickensian villainy by the very same cognoscenti that still hadn't accepted John Howard's prime ministership 11 years into its life, Peter Dutton was a great performer for the conservative base and, with Mathias Cormann, the political antenna for Malcolm Turnbull, whose own has its profound limits. Dutton, like Cormann (though the Senate leader's superhuman shepherding of legislation through his chamber sets him apart), commanded moral authority in...
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Bank crackdown slowing loan approvals, says Mortgage Choice Sydney Morning Herald 21 August 2018 1:19pm Clancy Yeates   The effects of a clampdown on risky loans are still flowing into the market, which could result in further softening in home loan approvals in months ahead, says Mortgage Choice. Chief executive Susan Mitchell also says it is clear brokers will need to lift their governance standards, as the sector comes under fierce scrutiny from a range of inquiries by regulators, and the Hayne royal commission. As Mortgage Choice delivered a 3.3 per cent rise in cash profit to $23.4 million on Tuesday, as it had flagged last month, Ms Mitchell said there had been a "marked" industry-wide slowdown in home loan approvals in the last quarter of the financial year. Its results showed loan approvals fell 11 per cent in the second half, due to the much weaker June quarter, as the...
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Industry funds demand banks and super split in wake of Hayne The Australian 12:00am August 21, 2018 Michael Roddan   The royal commission should now consider the “complete separation” of banking and superannuation, according to Peter Collins, a former NSW Liberal Party leader and current chairman of Industry Super ­Australia. At the same time, Mr Collins claims the commission has ‘vindicated’ the controversial ‘fox and henhouse’ advertising campaign launched by industry super funds. While the royal commission landed some blows on the industry sector, with Hostplus chief executive David Elia forced to defend a blowout in hospitality costs at the Australian Open tennis tournament and the head of the nation’s biggest fund, AustralianSuper’s Ian Silk, grilled over $2 million spent on news website The New Daily and an anti-bank ad, the inquiry concentrated most of its firepower on the for-profit retail funds. Here it found the corporate watchdog preparing to charge...
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Banking inquiry: ASIC’s Shipton pledges to enforce better standards in sector The Australian 12:00am August 18, 2018 Andrew White   Chairman James Shipton has committed the Australian Securities & Investments Commission to “disrupt these concerning behaviours” that are being aired in the banking royal commission, and says the corporate regulator is changing its decision-making ­process to meet the new challenges. After months of revelations of bad behaviour in the financial ­services industry, Mr Shipton said the banking royal commission was “providing a very useful service” in airing the behaviour of the finance sector as well as the work of regulators enforcing the law. In testimony to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services, Mr Shipton defended the regulator’s use of enforceable undertakings with organisations to deal with misconduct, but said there was also a need to enforce personal responsibility by executives. The federal government has ­recently given ASIC an...
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Blame game in full swing over grandfathered commissions Australian Financial Review Aug 20 2018 5:42 PM Joanna Mather   ASIC has blamed federal parliament for carving a giant loophole into laws banning commissions for financial advice but the major parties pointed the finger at each other. Appearing before the banking royal commission on Friday, Australian Securities and Investments Commission deputy chairman Peter Kell said it would be "highly desirable to have this dealt with at a policy level". "The parliament has, in effect, put in place a provision that enables the continuing payment of commissions that generate conflicts of interest and unnecessary costs widely across the financial system," he said. "It was ... depicted as a transition issue of a relatively modest or limited nature. "It's actually an extremely expansive provision, both in terms of the circumstances under which grandfathering is allowed to continue, and the time period over which it...
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APRA's incestuous rule comes at too high a price Australian Financial ReviewAug 20 2018 7:00 PM John Dahlsen John Dahlsen is a former chair of the ANZ Bank board's audit and risk committee. This is an edited version of an article to appear in the August edition of the IPA Review.  The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority regulates our banks intensely and has a huge influence on behaviour through guidelines for risk weighting and consequent capital allocation rules, among other things. This substantially influences when, where and how banks lend and provide services, but APRA is among the least accountable federal agencies. There is an incestuous relationship between APRA and the banks. There is no separation of influence and nearly all senior staff are ex-bankers, so you are unlikely to get any independent and innovative thought. Embedding APRA staff in the banks – as the government proposes to do - would only...
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 18 Aug, 2018 08:10 Steve Keen Steve Keen is an Australian economist and author. He’s professor and Head of the School of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University in London.  For years, Australia has been seen as the goose which laid the golden egg for workers, migrants and investors. Ironically, as America’s casino closes, it will eventually end up as a speculator’s paradise. The performance of the Australian stock market relative to its American equivalent since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) shows the difference between a country where Quantitative Easing (QE) – the buying of bonds by the central bank to drive bond prices up and interest rates down, and thus encourage firms to invest and financial institutions to buy shares – was practiced and one where it was not. It’s both a warning about what could happen when the Fed starts to unwind QE, and a perverse opportunity to...
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Banking royal commission: APRA a 'hear no evil, see no evil' regulator Australian Financial Review Aug 19 2018 11:00 PM Adele Ferguson   When Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe told parliament on Friday "sunlight is acting as a very good disinfectant here", it was a signal from one of the highest powers in the land that the royal commission is serving to strengthen the financial system not tear it down. The banks, lobby groups, various media and politicians from the Prime Minister down to the Treasurer and Financial Services Minister, used every trick in the book to avoid a royal commission. What did the little people know? Only that the foundations of finance – trust, customer service and risk management – were deficient. Now it is on full display for all to see and comment on. "The trust between the community and financial institutions has been strained, there has not been...
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