The government has confirmed that Letters Patent is issued to the former High Court judge Kenneth Hayne AC to establish a royal commission into Australia’s banking system. The royal commission will investigate alleged misconduct in Australia’s banking, superannuation and financial services industry.
In a joint statement issued on Monday, the Federal Attorney-General and Treasurer confirmed that an interim report of the commissioner’s inquiry to the Governor-General would be submitted no later than 30 September 2018.
Commissioner Hayne has been given a deadline of 1 February 2019 to submit a final report about misconduct or conduct that falls below community expectations in the financial services sector.
The royal commission’s terms of reference will capture financial services entities, including mortgage brokers and other holders of Australian financial services licences and intermediaries, insurers, superannuation trustees as well as banks.
A recent addition to the draft terms of reference were intermediaries between borrowers and lenders, who were included after consultation with Commissioner Hayne.
“The financial system plays an important role in the lives of all Australian and we encourage all interested parties to engage with the royal commission,” the joint statement from Senator George Brandis QC and Treasurer Scott Morrison said.
“The commission will be focused on identifying ways to ensure that Australia’s financial system continues to work efficiently, effectively and in the interests of consumers,” they added.
Commissioner Hayne, who served as a High Court judge between 1997-2015, was appointed to lead the royal commission earlier this month. He joined the bench of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1992 and later sat on the bench of the Victorian Court of Appeal until his appointment to the HCA.
“Mr Hayne’s wealth of experience at the highest levels of Australia’s judiciary makes him the ideal person to conduct this Royal Commission.
“He is renowned for his brilliant mind, his forensic skill, and his deep sense of justice,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.
Senator Brandis and Mr Morrison said the government had already taken steps to protect customers of financial services, citing the creation of a “one-stop shop” for handling complaints through ASIC.
They also pointed to a new framework to ensure banking executives were held to account for their actions and efforts to boost competition in the sector.