Royal Commission warns banks

The head of the banking royal commission has got stuck into the way banks have been dragging their feet providing a dirty laundry list detailing their misconduct.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne, who is conducting the inquiry into the banking superannuation and financial services industries’ misconduct, expressed concern about the way some entities had been tardy producing information even before the inquiry had formally got under way.

Major financial institutions, including the big four banks, Macquarie and AMP had been asked to provide the royal commission with a 50-page submission detailing cases of misconduct since 2008. 

Hayne said some unnamed institutions had responded by saying they were unable to meet his request.

Even a revised timeframe had proven too difficult for some firms.

He described that response as “a matter to which further attention may have to be given”.

The institutions in question had been asked to “amplify” their responses by 4pm on February 13.

And if not, the retired High Court judge said he would use the inquiry’s powers to force the release of confidential information.

“The commission (is) very likely indeed to exercise its compulsory powers to secure the information in question,” he said.

“The very fact that an institution sought to inhibit or prevent the disclosure of information would incite the closest attention not only to the lawfulness of that conduct by the institution but also to what were the institutions motives in the seeking to prevent the commission having that information.”

He also said the commission would not have time to publicly examine every case of alleged misconduct. 

The first round of hearings is expected to begin in a month’s time.

The commission has until February next year to produce its report.

An award winning author and journalist, commentator, lecturer, and speaker, Leon is a freelance business journalist who covers a range of areas including politics, strategy, globalization, leadership and all the big trends ahead. His main skill is summing up all the news that’s around. For the last 30 years, his main focus has been on management issues. He also produces two podcasts for RMIT University, Talking Business and Talking Technology. Leon has worked for Fairfax, News Limited, AAP and the Herald and Weekly Times.

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