The Federal Government has released the “Letters Patent” underpinning its Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services industry and has ensured superannuation is high on the agenda.
The Treasurer, Scott Morrison released the “Letters Patent” documentation today - something which also spells out the Terms of Reference.
The terms of reference empower the Royal Commission to inquire into “whether any conduct by financial services entities (including by directors, officers or employees of, or by anyone acting on behalf of those entities) might have amounted to misconduct and, if so, whether the question of criminal or other legal proceedings should be referred to the relevant Commonwealth, State or Territory agency”.
It also empowers it to inquire into whether any conduct, practices, behaviour or business activities by financial services entities fall below community standards and expectations; and “whether the use by financial services entities of superannuation members’ retirement savings, for any purpose, does not meet community standards and expectations or is otherwise not in the best interests of those members”.
The terms of reference then provide scope for the Royal Commission to delve deeper in terms of culture and governance and practices.
The terms of reference also provide the Royal Commission the ability to pursue matters beyond the strict terms of reference, particularly where it discerns greater potential for harm.