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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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Financial services: the blitz begins as new regulations kick in The Australian 12:00am April 5, 2019 Joyce Moullakis, Michael Roddan   An era of stronger regulation and enforcement is set to begin in financial services, allowing shoddy products to be weeded out earlier and the banking regulator to compel underperforming superannuation funds to merge or exit the industry. Parliament has passed a wave of new legislation including Treasury Laws Amendment bills — which aim to beef-up the powers of financial regulators — and separate legislation to help mutual lenders more easily raise capital. Among other things, the bill relating to the Australian Prudential regulation Authority will empower it to collect data on expenses from super funds to “better understand whether trustees are spending members’ money in line with their obligations”. The James Shipton-chaired Australian Securities & Investments Commission gets formal product intervention powers, enabling it to step in if a product...
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APRA looks to boost staff numbers The Australian 12:00am April 5, 2019 Joyce Moullakis   The banking regulator has joined the rush to hire compliance and data-literate employees, in its first major recruitment drive in 15 years. It is understood the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority is open to boosting its headcount by as many as 100 staff, following a long period of stable numbers at around 630. As the post-Hayne royal commission landscape takes shape, after last year’s scathing assessment of APRA and the corporate regulator, both are knee deep in assessing their broader remits and topped-up budget allocations. It comes as the banks and wealth groups also bolster their compliance and data skills in the wash-up of the royal commission and a stricter interpretation of responsible lending standards. For APRA, the scaling up includes enforcement, but also goes well beyond that. It is looking to implement a much broader Banking...
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Super regulator gets powers to 'weed out duds' Australian Financial Review Apr 4, 2019 6.16pm Joanna Mather   Major public sector superannuation funds in NSW and Victoria announced plans to merge to create the nation's second largest fund after AustralianSuper, as federal Parliament cleared new laws giving the prudential regulator greater power to force exits and tie-ups. First State Super, which has $91 billion in funds under management, and VicSuper, with $22 billion, have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the benefits of a potential merger. First State Super chief executive Deanne Stewart said initial discussions indicated a strong cultural alignment between the funds. “We both have a member-first culture and a heritage in the public sector," she said. "Many of our members work in education, community services and health and we’re both seeing strong private-sector growth." The announcement coincided with passage of legislation giving the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority...
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ASIC faces hurdle with 'fairness' prosecutions Australian Financial Review Apr 4, 2019 11.00pm Michael Pelly   Obligations on financial services companies to ensure their services are provided "efficiently, honestly and fairly" look set to be a key source of tension between ASIC and banks as part of the regulator's "why not litigate" approach. ASIC deputy chair (enforcement) Daniel Crennan told The Australian Financial Review that the "fairness" provision of Corporations Act – Section 912A – will now be a vital part of the regulator's arsenal. Until March, 912A had no teeth, but there are now civil penalties of up to $525 million for some companies and $1.05 million for individuals. Mr Crennan also pressed for changes to the federal criminal code to make it easier to pursue prosecutions that involve a mixture of state and federal offences in the Federal Court. The enforcement sector got a budget boost this week with...
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Compared with the rest of the world, Australia’s economy has deteriorated badly across the board michaelwest.com.auApr 4, 2019 Alan Austin   Australia is falling behind other countries on a range of economic metrics. Alan Austin reports on Budget 2019 and the country’s performance against its global peers. BURIED AT the end of Tuesday’s Budget papers are 18 pages of tables with numbers going back to 1971. Therein lies a wealth of data revealing the disastrous impact Coalition policies have had on Australia’s economy. We see, for instance, that gross debt rose from 16.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, to a thumping 28.8 per cent last June. This is the key area in which the Coalition and its mainstream media cheer squad still try to condemn Labor. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg twice in Tuesday’s budget speech referred disparagingly to “Labor’s debt”. They want voters to think it was Labor...
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How Australia’s housing crash compares internationally MacroBusiness 12:15 am on April 4, 2019 Leith van Onselen   On Tuesday, I produced a chart pack benchmarking Australia’s current housing bust against prior episodes over the past 30-plus years, which showed that: ·         Australia’s current price decline at the capital city level is the third longest since the early 1980s, but the deepest in terms of depth; ·         Sydney’s is the second deepest decline versus prior episodes, as well as the third longest in terms of duration; ·         Melbourne’s decline is the deepest thus far and the third longest in terms of duration; and ·         Perth’s decline is both the longest and deepest in recorded history. Today, I have benchmarked Australia’s current decline against those experienced by the US, UK, Ireland and Spain from the mid-2000s, commonly referred to as the Global Financial Crisis, as measured by the Bank for International Settlements:  ...
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Housing turnaround 'not in sight' Australian Financial Review Apr 2, 2019 3.30pm Duncan Hughes   There is no turnaround in sight for property prices as a slowing economy worsens the "grinding down" for at least the remainder of the year,  according to analysis by global investment bank Morgan Stanley. Prices have been falling for 18 consecutive months, with the decline in Melbourne surpassing those of 1989, when Bob Hawke was prime minister and Madonna topped the charts with Like a Prayer. The federal budget was unlikely to include any measures that would kick start prices or buyer confidence, Morgan Stanley said. A turnaround remained “some way off”, with key indicators pointing to a broadening of weakness. This was despite a seasonal bounce to national auction clearance rates, albeit off much lower volumes. “Prices look like they are continuing their grind down. We see little prospect of conditions improving over 2019,” warned...
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AMP Capital upbeat on post-Hayne opportunities The Australian 12:00am April 4, 2019 Ben Wilmot   EXCLUSIVE  AMP Capital’s $28 billion real ­estate funds management unit has come through the worst of the publicity from the banking royal commission raising fresh capital and touting ambitions to launch new products. Helmed by three-year global head of real estate Carmel Hourigan, the group has put its stamp on key parts of major cities, most notably at Sydney’s Circular Quay, where it is undertaking a multi-billion-dollar mixed-use precinct. The group, which admits that parts of the property cycle are relatively toppy, is working up new products that could expand its purview into real estate debt and, potentially, distressed property, if the cycle turns, in addition to its traditional core property mandates. Ms Hourigan said AMP Capital was well positioned as a fund manager and the partner of choice for key developers, citing ties with Brookfield,...
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Lendlease faces class action over share plunge Sydney Morning Herald April 4, 2019 12.05am Sarah Danckert   EXCLUSIVE  The company building the delayed NorthConnex project in Sydney is facing a class action from investors over its November share price plunge caused in part by it revealing it was behind schedule on the multibillion-dollar road development. Investors, represented by Maurice Blackburn, are taking action against construction giant Lendlease over its share tumble in November following a surprise $350 million write-down on its engineering business that includes the major Sydney road project. Maurice Blackburn will today begin taking registrations for a class action against the global builder and developer. The law firm alleges Lendlease broke the Corporations Act by failing to properly inform its shareholders about serious issues in its engineering and services arm and by engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct. Lendlease saw its shares tumble on the day of the write-down...
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Government to take advantage of cheap debt Sydney Morning Herald April 3, 2019 5.33pm Lucy Battersby   Rallying bond prices are making it cheaper for the Australian government to borrow money from around the world with the budget papers revealing expected average costs have dropped 6 basis points in just four months. The head of the Australian Office of Financial Management, Rob Nicholl, which sells bonds on behalf of the government, says strong demand makes borrowing cheaper. "At the moment, our costs of borrowing are lower...if the market rallies hard and the yields are lower, that means we don't have to issue as much to raise the same amount of cash,'' Mr Nicholl told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Back in December the government assumed weighted average costs of around 2.5 per cent, but this has since dropped to 1.9 per cent due to dramatic changes in global bond...
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One of the many submissions to latest Senate Inquiry Dear Committee Secretary and Senators: Inquiry into the Banking System Reform (Separation of Banks) Bill 2019 We are a married couple, laypeople, with an abiding interest in the efficient and proper national functioning of Australia. Of the myriad facets of Australia's operations as a responsible and advanced sovereign nation, its banking system is, understandably, critical to its success. The citizenry must be able to rely on the banking system to protect its savings, and leverage them for the greatest good for the greatest number of us. Primarily, once savings (deposits) are as safe as reasonably possible, the onus should be upon the banking industry to put this pool of financial resources to work to generate real wealth in its multifarious forms for the good of the nation. WHAT IS REAL WEALTH: It includes manufactured goods, agricultural products, health services, efficient and affordable...
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AMP Capital upbeat on post-Hayne opportunities The Australian 12:00am April 4, 2019   Ben Wilmot   EXCLUSIVE  AMP Capital’s $28 billion real ­estate funds management unit has come through the worst of the publicity from the banking royal commission raising fresh capital and touting ambitions to launch new products. Helmed by three-year global head of real estate Carmel Hourigan, the group has put its stamp on key parts of major cities, most notably at Sydney’s Circular Quay, where it is undertaking a multi-billion-dollar mixed-use precinct. The group, which admits that parts of the property cycle are relatively toppy, is working up new products that could expand its purview into real estate debt and, potentially, distressed property, if the cycle turns, in addition to its traditional core property mandates. Ms Hourigan said AMP Capital was well positioned as a fund manager and the partner of choice for key developers, citing ties with...
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Finder: 9% of mortgage holders in severe stress MacroBusiness 12:10 am on April 4, 2019 Leith van Onselen   Finder has released its latest mortgage stress survey, which reveals that 9% of mortgage holders are experiencing severe stress, whereby the are either “barely able to make repayments every month” or are “behind in repayments”: Another 40% of mortgage holders are experiencing mild stress, whereby they “live month to month, but find enough” to get by. Last month, Digital Finance Analytics (DFA) released their February mortgage stress report, which noted that a record 1,036,214 households are estimated to be now in “mortgage stress” (31% of owner occupied borrowing households), with 28,903 of these are in severe stress, and more than 66,000 households at risk of 30-day default in the next 12 months: On Tuesday, I produced a chart pack benchmarking Australia’s current housing bust against prior episodes over the past 30-plus years,...
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Banks face 'hard slog' reforming culture Australian Financial Review Apr 2, 2019 4.18pm James Eyers   The world’s largest assessment of banker behaviour and culture, published by the Banking Standards Board in Britain, has criticised “uneven progress” by UK banks five years into their radical overhaul of culture, confirming that Australia's banks face a long, hard slog implementing the Hayne royal commission. The annual review of UK banking culture found one-quarter of bankers think their job has a negative impact on their health, while 40 per cent of those reporting problems to managers think they aren't taken seriously. The finding of slow progress implementing recommendations from the 2013 UK Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards – which had similar findings to the Hayne royal commission – was based on a survey of 72,024 employees across 26 UK banks, and was published on Tuesday. Unlike the industry-controlled Australian Bankers Association, the Banking Standards...
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Update on the Spreading Housing Bust in Australia, and Why it’s Happening Wolf StreetApr 2, 2019 Wolf Richter   This bubble was not pricked by the central bank — on the contrary. Home prices in the metro area of Sydney, according to CoreLogic’s Home Value Index, fell 0.9% in March from February and 10.9% from March last year. Prices in the most expensive quarter of the housing market dropped 11.9% year-over-year. Since its peak in July 2017, the index has dropped 13.9%: For a while, there was a rumor that first-time buyers would save the market, and that this was visible because in the big cities, such as Sydney, they could only afford to buy condos, and condo prices would hold up, it was said. But condo prices are now rapidly catching up: the CoreLogic Home Value Index for condos dropped 1.2% in March from February and is down 8.9% year-over-year....
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Macquarie hit by new employee pay claims The Australian 12:00am April 2, 2019 Ben Butler, Joyce Moullakis   Macquarie Group has been hit with a fifth lawsuit for underpaying its financial advisers, which brings the total claimed to at least $12 million, with more pain looming as additional former staff mull legal action. The latest lawsuit was lodged with the Federal Circuit Court on Friday by a group of 20 advisers who worked for subsidiary Macquarie Bank for up to 30 years. In a statement of claim filed with the court, the advisers claim Macquarie failed to pay the minimum wage set out in the finance sector award, and also breached the Fair Work Act by failing to fork out holiday pay and other entitlements including leave loading and compassionate leave pay. Macquarie has already settled two similar matters involving former advisers within its private wealth division. In February, filings showed...
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Property prices to tumble $60,000 by 2020 news.com.au APRIL 1, 20197:26PM David Ross   Ahead of tomorrow’s interest rates decisions, all sides are tipping house prices in Sydney are heading for another $60,000 slide by 2020, with Melbourne hot on its heels with a $50,000 fall of its own. Those figures are the expected outcome of a further 8 per cent fall in prices, according to Finder’s RBA Cash Rate Survey. While the median for Sydney house prices currently sits at $930,000, a forecasted 6.21 per cent decline would see the new median fall to $872,242 — a drop of almost $60,000. CoreLogic figures, released today, show houses prices in Sydney have already experienced an annual 10.6 per cent decline, followed by Melbourne at 9.8 per cent. Prices in Sydney are now back to where they were in 2016. Melbourne is back to August 2017. Only Hobart, Canberra, and Adelaide have...
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Australian banks have fingers crossed for a Brexit delay Australian Financial Review Apr 1, 2019 12.00am Hans van Leeuwen   London | Australia’s banks will breathe a sigh of relief if Britain and the EU shift to a long Brexit delay in the coming two weeks, as none have reached the formal finish line in the race to set up a European subsidiary by the cliff-edge deadline of April 12. Macquarie Group, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac Banking Corp have each chosen a European city, but are still waiting for the final green light for a licence from the local regulators. ANZ Banking Group is relying on existing European branches and licences. National Australia Bank looks to be the laggard, having not yet applied for a banking licence on the Continent. The arrival of Brexit, whenever it may come, will end the ability of London-headquartered financial services companies to operate across the...
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ASIC takes the gloves off in NAB brawl The Australian 12:00am April 1, 2019 Richard Gluyas   EXCLUSIVE  National Australia Bank collided with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission’s new, take-no-prisoners enforcement policy late last year, with the conduct regulator taking the unusual step of opposing mediation in the fees-for-no-service case brought against the recalcitrant bank. Federal Court judge David Yates knocked back the regulator’s pitch, ordering mediation to take place next Monday, April 8. However, ASIC’s unreported move — based on an assessment that there was little point in going through the charade of mediation — was an early marker of the “why not litigate” mantra adopted by deputy chairman and chief prosecutor Daniel Crennan QC. The regulator’s frustration with NAB, which has mainly been directed at the old board and management regime led by chairman Ken Henry and chief executive Andrew Thorburn, spread to Canberra last week in the...
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Financial planners resisting Westpac’s sell-off to Viridian The Australian 12:00am April 1, 2019 Joyce Moullakis   EXCLUSIVE  Westpac is facing headwinds as it looks to offload some of its loss-making financial planning unit to boutique Viridian Advisory, and ultimately exit financial advice. The Australian understands the transaction is facing resistance from planners, including a group of up to 15 with the largest customer books who will opt not to join Viridian. Westpac’s most senior financial planners, known as the partnership group because they also share revenue with the bank, must decide in coming days whether to accept Viridian offers and a separate incentive payment from Westpac to assist in buying shares in the boutique. Other planners and support staff that are part of the 175 employees earmarked to transition to Viridian are yet to receive their ­offers. Sources said those who were offered positions deemed by Westpac to be comparable to...
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