Sir Humphrey tells the banks ‘check mate’

Outsider reckons former Commonwealth Public Service Commissioner, Stephen Sedgwick has accurately predicted that while the major banks were last week talking the talk about implementing the recommendations contained in his Retail Banking Remuneration Review it remains to be seen whether they will actually walk the walk.

Sedgwick during his time in the Australian Public Service will have seen more than a few worthwhile recommendations disappear into the processes of an interdepartmental committee never to be seen again, and thus has quite sensibly suggested that the banks be subject to another independent review in three years’ time to determine what, if anything, has actually happened.

In true Sir Humphrey Appleby fashion, Sedgewick said: “I have been heartened by the support that many banks have given to this process, in some cases publicly committing to implement my recommendations”.

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However he then shrewdly added: “Nonetheless, it is prudent that a further independent review be conducted in three years to assess progress in implementing these recommendations and examine whether regulatory or legislative change is required”.

Check mate! Sedgwick has none-too-subtly suggested that if the banks can’t self-regulate, perhaps “regulatory or legislative change” becomes inevitable. 

Outsider reckons the political advisers inside the banks and the Australian Bankers’ Association need to strongly consider the prospect that, in three years’ time, and given the shape of the polls, it is highly likely a Federal Labor Government will be in power and actions will need to speak louder than words.

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