Government announces financial sector regulatory initiatives grid

11 March 2024
| By Rhea Nath |
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The Albanese government has announced a new regulatory initiatives grid for the Australian financial sector.

It aims to ensure the standard business of regulation is carried out in a more coordinated way, Treasurer Jim Chalmers explained, to make it “simpler and easier to do business in Australia.”

It will span initiatives from a number of agencies and regulators, such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Australian Prudential Regulatory Agency (APRA), the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

“By engaging with industry, we believe we get better outcomes and that’s what this is all about – promoting transparency, collaboration and engagement with the private sector is an important part of our economy,” the Treasurer said in a statement.

“A regulatory grid will help financial services businesses engage with the government and regulators more effectively and allow regulators to avoid duplication, build shared strategic priorities, and focus on how to best implement reforms.”

Additionally, it would reduce compliance burden and costs, Chalmers added, by allowing entities to allocate their resources more efficiently when implementing regulation.

Modelled on the existing grid in place in the UK, it will be a rolling, 24-month forward program, updated twice a year, of regulatory initiatives that will materially affect the financial sector.

This will include banking, credit, insurance, superannuation, investment, payments, and capital market entities.

It will be established and administered by Treasury and include proposed legislation, rule, and regulation and standard making; consultation processes; and data collection processes.

Chalmers confirmed Treasury will continue to engage with financial sector stakeholders in the development of the grid.

Additionally, the Financial Accountability Regime (FAR) is set to commence this week after the signing of the required ministerial rules by Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones on 5 March 2024.

The FAR will apply to banks from 15 March 2024 and extend to insurance and superannuation entities from 15 March 2025.

A key recommendation of the 2019 Hayne royal commission, the FAR aims to improve accountability for institutions and their senior executives across the banking, insurance, and super sectors and expands on the former Banking Executive Accountability Regime (the BEAR), which only applied to the banking sector.

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