Including wealth management and insurance operations within the terms of the Bank Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) will hamper their ability to compete, according to the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA).
Calling for a six-month extension to the implementation time-table for the BEAR, ABA chief executive, Anna Bligh said that, according to the legislation, BEAR would not only apply to banks but to all their subsidiaries as well.
“Large banks have hundreds of subsidiaries therefore the regime would capture a large number of mid-level and junior executives,” she said. “If banks’ insurance and wealth management businesses are also caught up in the regime it will affect banks’ ability to compete.”
“The draft legislation proposes that APRA can disqualify a person, effectively destroying their career, and doesn’t allow the person to have that life-changing decision reviewed to make sure the law was applied consistently,” Bligh said. Protecting an individual’s rights and ensuring procedural fairness is essential if the BEAR itself is seen to have integrity and consistency with other laws in Australia.”
“To achieve this the ABA strongly recommends that the merits of any disqualification decision by APRA must be able to be reviewed, and that APRA has to apply to the Federal Court to disqualify an individual,” she said.
What constitutes a breach is also unclear in the legislation, with no definition provided of behaviour that affects ‘prudential standing’ or ‘reputation’.
“Neither of these terms are defined, nor do they have an equivalent in any other law,” Bligh said.
“With so much important detail still to be worked out by the Federal Government and regulators, the banking industry is seeking an additional six months to implement BEAR (1 January 2019), or one year after the finalisation of all relevant APRA rules,” she said.