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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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APRA to dictate banker pay Australian Financial Review Mar 27, 2019 4.43pm Jonathan Shapiro, James Fernyhough, John Kehoe   Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority chairman Wayne Byres has been forced to dictate how banker bonuses are set after boards failed to design structures to better align the interests of management and customers. Mr Byres said it was "inevitable that regulatory intervention," would  be needed to "shift practices" as he told boards they needed to stop setting bonuses based solely on total shareholder return, use more discretion in handing out bonuses and demonstrate a greater willingness to claw back payments. He told The Australian Financial Review Banking & Wealth Summit that his demand, a year ago, that bank boards work to restructure the executive pay packets of their senior bankers, had "not been wholly welcomed". APRA, which has just received a $150 million boost to its budget, said it will being consulting on...
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Conflicts of Interest”R”Us: KPMG pursues PwC back into insolvency michaelwest.com.auMar 26, 2019 Michael West, Jeffrey Knapp   The Big Four, the relentless architects of global tax avoidance, have returned to the insolvency business, despite selling out of it 15 years ago because of overweening conflicts of interest. When it became known last year that the bosses of PwC, EY, Deloitte and KPMG had been getting together for cosy dinners, and given the billions they make from government consulting, Labor asked the competition regulator to investigate cartel behaviour. Nothing much happening there. The Big Four may have begun as auditors, but they are expanding into everything from advisory and consulting to mopping up lawyers and now liquidators too. Michael West reports, with advice from retired UNSW accounting academic, Jeffrey Knapp. Two weeks ago, Australian Associated Press carried an alarming report that KPMG Australia had agreed to acquire Ferrier Hodgson. The merger would...
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Labor will deliver Australia's first new living wage Australian Financial Review Mar 26, 2019 12.01am Phillip Coorey   Labor will deliver the first living wage as soon as July 1 next year, and the full conversion from the current minimum wage will be phased in over a longer period, taking into account the capacity of business to pay and any effects on the economy. Labor leader Bill Shorten has also assured that the plan to convert the minimum wage into a higher living wage will not automatically flow into higher award wages. Only those receiving the minimum wage will be paid the living wage whereas award wages will be determined separately by the annual wage review process. If necessary, Labor will legislate to ensure this. No full-time worker in poverty The new wage will be designed to ensure "no person working full-time in Australia need live in poverty". After first flagging...
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  Super admin fees may rise 40pc The Australian 12:00am March 26, 2019 Michael Roddan   EXCLUSIVE  Savers in union-and-employer-backed industry superannuation funds could be hit with administration flat fee increases of 40 per cent a year following government reforms stopping the use of low-balance accounts and young worker nest eggs to cross-subsidise other members. An analysis of official statistics and super fund product disclosure statements reveals that without implementing cost-cutting programs to bring down administration expenses, the average fee across the 20 largest industry super funds would need to rise from $75 to $112 per member to make up for the forgone fee revenue, which has been estimated at $225 million across these funds each year. The Morrison government last month secured passage of laws that will impose a 3 per cent cap from July on administration fees on low-balance super accounts with less than $6000 in savings, which is...
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Super fund linked to weapons sales The Australian 12:00am March 26, 2019 Michael Roddan   EXCLUSIVE  A major fund manager owned by the union and employer-backed industry superannuation fund sector is under pressure to dump its major shareholding in a Canberra company facing claims it is exporting a weapons system destined for Saudi Arabia. International corporate activist group SumOfUs will today launch a campaign, organised to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the civil war in Yemen, urging IFM ­Investors to divest from the company, Electro Optic Systems. According to the Australian ­Securities Exchange, IFM Investors owns a 6.6 per cent stake in Electro Optic Systems, making the fund manager the largest single shareholder in the defence industry manufacturer, which has designed a remotely operated vehicle-mounted platform that holds cannons, machineguns and missile launchers. The Greg Combet-chaired IFM Investors is the jointly owned international asset manager, ultimately controlled by Industry Super...
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One Nation’s James Ashby filmed lobbying for NRA donations The Australian 7:24 Am March 26, 2019 Richard Ferguson   Pauline Hanson’s right-hand men have been filmed trying to obtain up to $20m in donations from America’s gun lobby. An Al-Jazeera investigation has filmed the One Nation’s chief of staff James Ashby and the party’s Queensland state leader Steve Dickson in both America and Australia plotting to use the NRA to boost their donations and water down gun laws. An Al-Jazeera reporter posed as a fake gun lobbyist to approach Mr Ashby and Mr Dickson, and later set up meetings for the two men in Washington with NRA officials. The revelations about One Nation’s search for US gun lobby money comes in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks and a push on the Liberal Party to put One Nation last on its how-to-vote cards. In one meeting that was filmed, Mr...
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Regulator to rethink credit risk oversight The Australian 12:00am March 26, 2019 Richard Gluyas   The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has proposed the first overhaul of its approach to credit risk since 2006, including enhanced board oversight and the need for banks to maintain prudent risk practices over the entire life of a loan. In a discussion paper released yesterday, the prudential regulator said boards should review and approve the bank’s credit risk statement and strategy “at least on an annual basis”. They should regularly challenge and seek assurance and evidence from management that the bank’s credit risk policies, processes and practices were consistent with the overall credit strategy. “APRA has observed deficiencies in credit risk management,” the discussion paper says. “For most (banks), loans, particularly residential mortgage loans, are the largest and most obvious source of credit risk. However, other sources of credit risk exist throughout the activities of a...
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Trader salaries are 'rather outlandish' Australian Financial Review Mar 22, 2019 12.28pm John Kehoe   Former Westpac chairman Ted Evans has broken his silence on the banking royal commission, admitting banker salaries are “outlandish” especially for traders who are “betting” with the bank’s money. Mr Evans said royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne was “spot on” in exposing problems in the banks and he was surprised at the extent of the failures. “I’d long been very concerned about the wage system in banking,” Mr Evans said in an interview with The Australian Financial Review. “Not chief executives, but particularly those involved in markets where in most banks people are paid what they earn in the market using the bank’s balance sheet.” “Some of it is good risk management, but most of it is just betting.” To better manage risk, Westpac used a system that charged market traders for the amount of the bank’s...
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KKR, Oaktree drop overseas loans The Australian 12:00am March 25, 2019 Joyce Moullakis   Global private equity heavyweights KKR and Oaktree Capital have pulled the pin on a venture providing non-resident home loans to buy Australian property as faltering demand hits their business model. The venture has stopped lending just 12 months after a high-profile launch. The parties were seeking to capitalise on a retreat by the big four local banks from lending to foreigners or those who derive swathes of income from offshore. The partnership between a unit of KKR and Oaktree, called Blue Lotus, largely targeted buyers from China. A KKR spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the wind-down of the lending platform. “Blue Lotus and its backers regret this outcome because of the significant time and effort committed to establishing the lending platform, but it is the right commercial decision at this time,” she said. “Blue Lotus will continue to settle...
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Alarm as Coalition dumps Hayne royal commission recommendations The Australian 12:00am March 25, 2019 Ben Butler, Michael Roddan   Consumer groups have warned that the prospect of lasting reform of the finance sector is under threat after the government ­walked away from recommendations of the banking royal commission, raising fears that heavy campaigning from the cashed-up industry might result in further backdowns. The warning comes ahead of a federal election and after the Coalition government abandoned a commitment to end trailing commissions for mortgage brokers and regulators decided not to press for a better deal for small business borrowers. In a further industry-friendly move, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Friday snubbed calls by regulators to ban property investing by self-managed super funds even though the commission heard that more than 90 per cent of advice given to set up an SMSF broke the law. With the royal commission no longer dominating headlines,...
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ASIC chalks up hefty legal bill for commission The Australian 12:00am March 25, 2019 Richard Gluyas   EXCLUSIVE  The conduct regulator tallied up an eight-figure legal bill in the ­financial services royal commission, although it was heavily outspent by the targets of the inquiry — the major banks. Internal Australian Securities & Investments Commission documents released to The Australian under Freedom of Information laws show that the regulator spent $10.2 million in the 2018 financial year and up to the end of January in the current financial year. Of that amount, $5.8m was spent on advice from external law firms and counsel, with a costing of internal ASIC legal services ­accounting for the remainder. An ASIC spokesman said the royal commission was an important process and the regulator had been a major contributor. “ASIC secured funding from the government to assist with our involvement in the royal commission and to make...
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  PwC fears payments issue will go global Australian Financial Review Mar 22, 2019 — 11.00pm Edmund Tadros   EXCLUSIVE  Fears that PwC Australia’s burgeoning conflict-of-interest controversy over retirement payments made to former partners will spread to overseas member firms is piling pressure on local leadership to resolve the widening issue. The firm on Friday denied that the global board had become involved, even as AFR Weekend identified another ex-partner who is receiving payments from the firm and working as an audit committee head at a listed company where the auditor is also PwC. The PwC engagement with Amcor, along with the previously identified Vocus where a similar arrangement is in place, are estimated to be worth about $13 million in audit and non-audit fees to PwC. Please stop talking In one sign of the panic at the executive level of the firm, a note was sent out during the week...
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Short bets on banks point to slump The Australian 12:00am March 23, 2019 Michael Roddan   Sliding house prices and faltering economic conditions have sparked a resurgence in the “widow maker” bet, as fund managers pour millions into short positions against the major banks and regional lenders. A flood of money betting on a housing implosion has coincided with a warning from global ratings agency Moody’s that tumbling apartment and house prices will push more borrowers into default. Bank shares have already been hammered through the royal commission over the past year, but international fund managers expect stock prices to fall further. Over the past three months, the slice of bank shares that are held short has risen by an average 50 basis points. Short selling is the practice of investors selling borrowed shares in the hope of buying the stock back later at a lower price to make a profit....
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Unintended consequences put squeeze on economy The Australian 12:00am March 23, 2019 Alan Kohler   The Australian economy is being hammered by a double dose of ­responsibility: responsible lending and responsible budgets. Oh, the irony. We have a credit squeeze and fiscal tightening at the wrong time — that is, into the teeth of a cyclical property downturn — because banks and governments were irresponsible for too long, and are now trying to atone for their sins by being responsible. More broadly, Australia is reaping the result of having an economy based on real estate, ­resource exports and immigration, excluding manufacturing and ideas. The nation’s economic health is hostage to the banks and China and there is an also a productivity-sapping infrastructure deficit that can’t be made up because state stamp duty revenues are now collapsing. At a federal level, both major parties are campaigning on deficit reduction, and as a...
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Banks could do the RBA's job on rates Australian Financial Review Mar 22, 2019 11.18am Christopher Joye   Let’s talk about plummeting house prices, why the banks could cut rates for the RBA, and Unisuper’s hitherto undisclosed $1.3 billion bet on hybrids. Home values across Australia’s five largest cities are about to pass through the 10 per cent peak-to-trough loss threshold, with the draw-down since their late 2017 apogee at 9.6 per cent. That’s one line in the sand where credit rating agencies have warned residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), which are suffering from a toxic combination of rapidly rising leverage, climbing arrears, surging supply (new issuance), and radically reduced prepayment rates, are at risk of being downgraded. (That also explains why while global credit spreads have been compressing sharply – contrary to most experts’ calls last year – RMBS spreads have not followed suit.) In early 2017 we forecast a 10...
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The big banks' nice earners are melting away Australian Financial Review Mar 22, 2019 11.00pm Karen Maley   After months of crippling humiliation before the Hayne commission, the last thing the country's big four banks wanted was another portent of looming competition. But that's exactly what they got in September when the country's largest super fund, AustralianSuper, announced it was committing £230 million ($425 million) to finance a new office, hotel and residential unit development in London, known as One Crown Place. It was a logical next step for AustralianSuper, which had already lent some $1 billion to Australian companies, but almost always in tandem with one of the big four local banks. In contrast, there were no local banks in sight in the One Crown Place deal – which boosted AustralianSuper's international loan exposure to more than $2 billion. In that transaction, AustralianSuper found itself rubbing shoulders with major global...
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Sellers 'secretly' dropping prices to lure bidders Australian Financial Review Mar 22, 2019 1.04pm Duncan Hughes   Desperate real estate agents are bolstering nervous buyers by secretly offering lower prices in a bid to boost auction attendances, sales, and prices that have been falling for months. Real estate agents are secretly dropping quoted property prices by between 10 per cent and 16 per cent to select buyers in the final days before an auction in a bid to generate greater interest, correspondence between real estate and buyers' agents reveals. Prestige properties in Melbourne's inner south-east advertised online for between $2.5 million and $2.75 million are being offered in targeted correspondence to possible buyers for between $2.3 million and $2.5 million, a difference of about 16 per cent. Agents claim the offers are being made to stimulate demand in sluggish markets where auction attendance and clearance rates continue to tumble as market...
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Coalition says 'no' to ban on borrowing by SMSFs Australian Financial Review Mar 22, 2019 5.18pm Joanna Mather   The Coalition has recommitted to allowing self-managed superannuation funds to borrow for property despite warnings from regulators that the real estate correction could wipe out the nest eggs of some investors. A new report by the Council of Financial Regulators and Australian Tax Office raises concerns about limited resource [sic; it’s “recourse” –RJB] borrowing arrangements (LBRAs) by SMSFs, especially where an asset such as the family home is used as a guarantee. “LRBAs can represent a significant risk to some individuals’ retirement savings, particularly where they have low-balance SMSFs with high asset concentration and or personal guarantees,” the report says. “As the majority of LRBAs are used to purchase real property, a property market correction could post a significant risk, in particular where a personal guarantee is involved.” Responding to the report,...
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  Mortgages understated by 40pc: Deutsche Australian Financial Review Mar 22, 2019 3.52pm Jonathan Shapiro   Analysts at Deutsche Bank have identified a major flaw in the prudential regulator’s mortgage data, which they believe severely understates the average balance size of an Australian mortgage because it fails to adjust for "split loans". This, they argue, may have resulted in the $276,000 figure for the average mortgage balance being understated by up to 40 per cent, potentially giving regulators, economists and the broader analyst community a false sense of comfort about the indebtedness of Australian households. In a note sent to clients this week, Matthew Wilson and Anthony Hoo said the number of residential loans to households reported by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority “makes no sense”. “APRA appears to have a data problem – the number of mortgages is up 75 per cent since March 2008; yet population is up only 18 per cent...
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Banks could do the RBA's job on rates Australian Financial Review Mar 22, 2019 11.18am Christopher Joye   Let’s talk about plummeting house prices, why the banks could cut rates for the RBA, and Unisuper’s hitherto undisclosed $1.3 billion bet on hybrids. Home values across Australia’s five largest cities are about to pass through the 10 per cent peak-to-trough loss threshold, with the draw-down since their late 2017 apogee at 9.6 per cent. That’s one line in the sand where credit rating agencies have warned residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), which are suffering from a toxic combination of rapidly rising leverage, climbing arrears, surging supply (new issuance), and radically reduced prepayment rates, are at risk of being downgraded. (That also explains why while global credit spreads have been compressing sharply – contrary to most experts’ calls last year – RMBS spreads have not followed suit.) In early 2017 we forecast a 10...
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