RC missed mark on vertical integration says Fels

Former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman, Professor Alan Fels has added his voice to those who believe the Royal Commission should have gone longer and looked more deeply at policy.

Speaking on a panel at the Conference of Major Superannuation Funds (CMSF), Fels described it as a “lawyer’s Royal Commission” which delivered a lawyer’s outcome.

Further, he said that in the end the banks had got off somewhat lightly, albeit that some individuals would pay a price.

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“The big banks got off a bit lightly,” he said. “Some individuals will pay a price but there was less impact on the organisations than I thought would have occurred.”

“Hayne took a relatively conservative approach and relied very heavily on regulation and change culture to fix the situation and put things right,” Fels said.

He said the Royal Commissioner had said that responsibility lay at the top level of financial institutions but had then failed to go deeply into them.

“There were no deep structural changes proposed or addressed,” Fels said. “For example, the question of vertical integration”

‘Other structural questions also needed to be much more deeply addressed,” he said. “There was not a great deal on remuneration and conflicted remuneration – these are difficult issues which need to be pursued more deeply.”

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