The fourth round of hearings of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry will focus on issues affecting Australians living in remote and regional communities, including farming finance, natural disaster insurance and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians’ interactions with financial services entities.
The hearings will be held at Brisbane Magistrates Court from Monday, 25 June, to Friday, 29 June, and at the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory in Darwin from 2–6 July.The commission will be dealing with the issues of remote finance by reference to the case studies set out below.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (Rural Bank)
Natural disaster insurance
The case studies will consider issues arising from:
Tropical Cyclone Debbie in March 2017;
the hail storm in Broken Hill in November 2016;
the bushfires near Wye River in December 2015; and
the floods in the Hunter Valley in April 2015.
Interactions between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and financial services entities
Select AFSL, trading as Let’s Insure
ACBF Funeral Plans
During the hearings, evidence will also be given by consumers, who will detail their particular experiences. The entities that are the subject of consumer evidence will be informed by the commission.Further topics may be included and the list above will be updated accordingly before the hearings commence.
The commission is also now accepting applications for leave to appear for the fourth round of hearings. Applications must be received by 5pm on Friday, 15 June 2018.
Royal commission recap
The first round of public hearings, held between 13 March and 23 March, considered issues concerning the treatment of consumers by banks and financial service providers in connection with credit products, which included residential mortgages, car finance and credit cards.
The initial round identified breaches of responsible lending obligations by Australia’s major banks and third-party intermediaries, with ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank and its third-party subsidiary Aussie Home Loans, NAB and Westpac all appearing before the commission.
The second round of public hearings, held between 16 April and 27 April, investigated the conduct of financial advisers, including the treatment of consumers, compliance with the law and community standards and expectations, and the sufficiency of the current legal and regulatory structure.
Among the revelations of misconduct identified by the commission were AMP’s concession that its financial planning pision charged clients “fees for no service” as well as inappropriate advice issued by advisers that adversely affected the financial wellbeing of customers.
The third round of hearings, held between 21 May and 1 June, considered the conduct of several of the leading banks in respect of their dealings with small and medium enterprises, in particular in providing credit to businesses.
[Related: Golden era for banks is over: Morgan Stanley]