PC recommends ACCC become industry “competition champion”

The Productivity Commission (PC) has recommended that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) take on the role of “competition champion for the financial system”, following its finding that regulatory gaps currently prevent the effective consideration of competitive outcomes in financial markets.

The recommendation formed part of the PC’s response to regulatory issues highlighted in its final report into competition in the Australian financial system.

“To address gaps in the regulatory architecture related to lack of effective consideration of competitive outcomes in financial markets, the ACCC should be given a mandate by the Australian Government to champion competition in the financial system, including in decisions taken by regulators that have or may have the outcome of restricting competition,” the PC wrote in the report.

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It proposed that the role be implemented in substantial part through the Council of Financial Regulators (CFR) to minimise cost and disruption. The move would make the ACCC a permanent member of the CFR.

The recommended functions of the ACCC within the CFR were:

  • The preparation of transparent analysis of competition impacts of material market interventions by financial market regulators; and
  • The publication of a bi-annual financial system competition report, which would be the competition equivalent of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Financial Stability Review.

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