Hume criticised for APRA defence

23 July 2019

Australia’s new Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Senator Jane Hume has found herself mired in the regulatory failings of the past following her praise for the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

The organisation which grew out of the Trio collapse nearly a decade ago, the Victims of Financial Fraud (VOFF) has strongly criticised Hume for suggesting APRA had been a “very successful regulator in the past” and that there had been “very few financial failures in Australia and certainly no systemic failures”.

VOFF issued a statement claiming Hume’s words had ignored events such as the Trio collapse and suggested the new assistant minister “wants Australians to see APRA as The Emporer’s New Cloths and not the reluctant regulator that failed to stop the fleecing, gouging and theft of superannuation and retirement savings”.

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“The Victims of Financial Fraud (VOFF Inc) suggest that the Trio Capital fraud is a classic example of systemic failure,” the organisation said.

“Questions could be asked about financial regulators that allow a financial system to operate like an Alice in Wonderland tea party. In the case of Trio, the banks as custodians continued to manage Trio’s money long after it had been stolen. APRA continued governing Trio as if it was operating legitimately. It continued carrying out its prudential reviews thus allowing Trio to plunder new customers. The entire financial system continued to look after Trio’s money although the money had vanished. What chance do mum and dad consumers have when regulators allow the financial system to operate as a charade,” the organisation said.

It said that Centre Alliance leader Rex Patrick noted that Senator Jane Hume who had stood up for APRA had made a fundamental mistake, stating: “You do not permit perfunctory conduct by senior officials as it sends a message right across government that you can be average in the way you execute your duties and you're OK:.

“Political handling of serious financial crime and the politicising of serious financial crime events into issues about ‘financial advice’ is a troubling trend where government appears to be acting on behalf of the criminals,” the VOFF statement said.

“While independent reviews face consumer’s interests, the government remains obsessed with protecting its fellow agencies.”

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