Proactive leadership was not adopted in the financial services industry after the global financial crisis (GFC) to look at the lessons that could have been learnt and thus have led the industry to a post-Royal Commission environment, according to the Australian Securities and Investments (ASIC) Commission’s commissioner James Shipton.
Speaking at the CFA Societies ‘Beyond Disruption’ conference on 17 October, Shipton said the financial services industry did not lean into the challenges after the GFC to prevent some of the issues that the system faces today.
“One of the great shames was that collectively the Australian financial system didn’t look very hard at the lessons to be learnt from the GFC,” he said.
“We missed our opportunity and that’s what I reflect on a lot. We could have avoided all of this because there were lessons and experiences that we could take from overseas that we should have applied and should have invested in people, systems, technology and culture.”
However, he noted that the Australian financial system had a lot to be proud of given it was developed and mature but had a long way to go.
“Over the last 10 years there was an element of ‘she’ll be right, there’s nothing wrong here and we can rest on our laurels’ instead of continually striving to be the very best in the region and globally,” he said.
“The Australian financial system can be the envy of the region and world – we’re big enough to have critical mass and not too big to that it’s unwieldy and because we’re in that sweet spot there we have the opportunity to lean into the challenge because we can be the benchmark that the rest of the world can follow.”