Who would be a financial regulator, as criticism builds from all corners

Who would be a financial regulator, as criticism builds from all corners

John Durie – The Australian – Thursday 19 November

Who would be a financial regulator? The politicians blame you when corporates play up and then blame you when the recovery isn’t happening as it should.

Case in point being Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s attack on ASIC as putting too much red tape in the way of banks trying to get on with lending money to consumers and business.

Ask any of the big banks and they will unequivocally say the problem with lending is lack of demand not red tape.

Some will admit to being a little cautious to explain loss of market share but the reality is there are not a lot of demands for new credit amid the present uncertainty.

The good news is the economy is actually responding better than predicted and banks are upgrading their economic forecasts accordingly.

ASIC is having a day in the sun with a joint Parliamentary Committee hearing under Senator James Patterson.

The Senator is a smart operator and has set up the day with the Audit office, Professors Ian Harper, Fred Hilmer and Graeme Samuel all giving evidence in the morning and ASIC in the afternoon to answer the questions they raised.

The most damaging being about former chair James Shipton’s tax advice and former deputy Daniel Crennan’s relocation expenses which should be easy for ADSIC to answer because they relate to the old regime.

Acting char Karen Chester’s speech to an industry conference and her testimony this afternoon will be all about the new regime with little time supporting the old guard.

“So we have the tools. The software script is written. Now we just need to let the program run, while we watch and act if the program fails to deliver the desired outcomes,” she told the conference.

She told business “The easiest way to stay off our radar is by living up to Parliament’s and community expectations and following the DDO (design and distribution obligations) road map.”

“Our new age is about awareness of market realities and placing a competitive market, and consumer outcomes, at the centre of everything we do,” she added.

Chester said: “Because at the end of the day it’s our job. And we are simply getting on with it.”

The speech deferred to the Treasury which is now back involved in policy and parliament so ticked all the right boxes.

Trouble is ASIC has a lot of ground to catch up in Canberra and Treasurer Frydenberg made clear he will use it as a scapegoat if anything goes wrong.

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