A key parliamentary committee has accepted assurances from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that it can be the “competition champion” for the financial system.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics used its review of the ACCC’s annual report to note that the ACCC believed it had the powers it needed to fulfil its role as the competition champion for the sector.
The committee report noted that the recent Productivity Commission draft report on competition in the Australian Financial System had noted that the Australian financial system was “without a champion among the existing regulators” and that the draft report had identified either the ACCC or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) as two possible candidates for competition champion.
The ASIC has itself made clear to other parliamentary committees that it would value being handed competition powers.
The committee report said the ACCC had told the committee that it had been given funds to establish a financial services unit within the ACC and that it allowed the regulator “not just to reactively look at the financial sector but to proactively look at it”.
The report said the ACCC had told the committee it now had the funds to play a competition role and that it was becoming more proactively engaged in the sector.