The Federal Opposition has strongly criticised the number of reviews initiated by the Rudd Labor Government in the financial services sector and has vowed that it will be closely watching the outcomes.
The Opposition Treasury spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull, used an address to the Investment and Financial Services Association national conference on the Gold Coast to claim that there was a risk of the financial services industry being strangled by regulation arising from the reviews.
He said that the former Howard Government had taken an innovative approach to superannuation with the introduction of co-contributions and choice of fund and that, by contrast, the Labor Government appears to have dropped the ball.
“It has embarked on policies that will restrict choice and reduce competition,” Turnbull said.
He pointed to the 14 reviews initiated by the Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law, Senator Nick Sherry, and noted, “There is a real risk of the financial services industry being strangled by regulation arising from these reviews”.
“The 15th review — the only one to report to date — has been the financial services working group’s model Product Disclosure Statement for the Government’s First Home Saver Accounts,” he said. “The results of this review were described in a Australian Financial Review editorial as ‘micro-management’ and the ‘black letter law tick the box disclosure duck which got financial services in such a mess in the 1980s’.”
Turnbull said the Coalition would be watching these reviews closely.
“We will be watching in particular for any sense that the Government might be trying to restrict choice or reduce competition in both the provision of financial advice and the range of superannuation funds,” he said.