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BFCSA: APRA’s shield of secrecy exposed. Wayne Byers refusal to speak to Anthony Klan. Why?

Posted by on in ROYAL COMMISSION URGENT
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APRA’s shield of secrecy exposed

The Australian 12:00am July 16, 2018

Anthony Klan

 

The regulator for the nation’s entire $2.6 trillion superannuation industry has for many years misled the public by falsely claiming it is unable to comment regarding its policing of the nation’s biggest super funds.

Representatives for the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority have, for almost two decades, claimed they were unable to comment on individual super fund managers under the “secrecy” provisions of the 1998 APRA Act.

“APRA does not comment on its discussions or actions with respect to individual financial entities, even on background, as it would be a breach of Section 56 of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Act 1998,” spokesman Ben McLean said.

That statement was in response to one of many recent unsuccessful requests the newspaper has made seeking an interview with APRA chairman Wayne Byres.

This newspaper has for the past four months been conducting an investigation into the nation’s $2.6 trillion super retirement nest egg and discovered billions of dollars are fleeced from the public every year by “retail” or for-profit funds — the vast majority of which being run by the big four banks, AMP and IOOF — by way of vast, unnecessary, fees and charges.

The Australian had contacted APRA for information about the IOOF Portfolio Service Superannuation “platform”, whose 340,000 investors, who collectively have $25.8 billion invested in the group, have earned far less than risk-free “cash” investments over the past decade, with those returns even less than the rate of inflation.

The group charged its super members over $400 million in fees and charges alone in the year to June 30, 2017.

It was revealed on Wednesday almost 100 of IOOF’s employees had written to management saying recent moves to hike fees even further — with that move undertaken amid a royal commission into financial services, which includes examining the superannuation sector — were “unfathomable”, “inconceivable” and “quite simply” to “increase revenue to IOOF”.

The Australian read the ASIC Act and provided it to the regulator.

Part 56 (7B) clearly states APRA can provide information regarding its “opinion as to whether or not a body regulated by APRA is complying, or was complying at a particular time, with a particular provision of a prudential framework law”.

Despite APRA being shown this section of APRA’s own act, Mr Byres refused to talk to The Australian.

In a meeting with economists on Wednesday Mr Byres inferred the vast number of cases of customer rip-offs and gouging by the major banks and financial institutions uncovered by the royal commission were in some way the fault of those customers.

“It is important that the concept of caveat emptor remains in the system,” he told the group.

The term caveat emptor is Latin for “let the buyer beware”.

Mr Byres refused to take questions from media after his speech at the event.

APRA general manager of corporate affairs Paula Hannaford, formerly a spokeswoman at Macquarie Bank, also stopped reporters from asking Mr Byres questions after the address.

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