Comyn claims ACCC exaggeration but welcomes probe

Original article by Bo Seo
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 12 & 17 : 17-Oct-19

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO Matt Comyn and chair Catherine Livingstone are supportive of a new inquiry into mortgage pricing. However, Comyn has questioned the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s claim that the pricing gap for new and existing customers of the nation’s major banks is 32 basis points. He says this gap is significantly lower than 30 basis points at CBA. Livingstone notes that the bank takes into account the interests of borrowers, deposit-holders and shareholders when deciding upon its mortgage pricing.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Regionals undercut bigger bank rivals

Original article by Joyce Moullakis, Andrew White
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 16-Oct-19

Analysis by RateCity shows that some of Australia’s regional banks are currently offering much lower variable home loan interest rates than the ‘big four’ bank. However, Victor German of Macquarie Group notes that existing customers at some of the smaller banks are also paying much higher mortgage interest rates than new customers. The mortgage pricing of smaller banks is among the issues that will be examined by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s new inquiry into the sector.

CORPORATES
RATECITY PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, SUNCORP BALANCED PROPERTY FUND, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, MACQUARIE BANK LIMITED – ASX MBL, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, AMP BANK LIMITED, ING BANK (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED

ACCC to investigate high cost of low speed NBN plans

Original article by James Fennessy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 19 : 15-Oct-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission will undertake an investigation into NBN Co’s wholesale pricing. The focus of the investigation will be on whether NBN has concentrated too much on developing products for those who want high internet access speeds at the expense of consumers who only want low internet speeds. The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network has warned that a significant section of the community will be excluded from getting an NBN service if its prices increase any further.

CORPORATES
NBN CO LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS CONSUMER ACTION NETWORK

Banks face heat over loyalty tax

Original article by Patrick Durkin, James Frost, Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 2 : 7-Oct-19

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has suggested that the nation’s banks are trying to "dud" their loyal customers. Sims, who is hoping Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will grant the ACCC’s request to conduct an inquiry into the competitive strength of the big banks, was commenting on the gap between mortgage interest rates offered to new borrowers and those offered to existing customers; the gap is generally half a percentage point. The banks have argued in private that it is not possible to offer the same competitive rates to all borrowers.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, AUSTRALIAN BANKING ASSOCIATION, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, EVANS AND PARTNERS PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED

‘We’re here to help’ pledge challenged

Original article by Zoe Samios
The Australian – Page: 23 : 30-Sep-19

Australia’s commercial free-to-air TV networks argue that regulation of digital giants such as Google and Facebook is necessary. Nine Entertainment’s group director of regulatory affairs, Clare Gill, has stressed the need for a regulated response from the federal government, to ensure a level playing field for traditional media companies and digital platforms. Ten’s COO Annabelle Hird has expressed concern that digital platforms’ behaviour will not change unless they are subject to a code of conduct or monitoring by the ACCC.

CORPORATES
NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, CBS CORPORATION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FAIRFAX MEDIA LIMITED, INTERNATIONAL NEWS MEDIA ASSOCIATION

Big Tech inquiry lauded abroad

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 25 : 5-Aug-19

The final report of the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s inquiry into digital platforms has received strong support from the global media industry. News Media Alliance CEO David Chavern says the US government should hold a similar inquiry into the market power of digital players such as Google and Facebook. Meanwhile, the UK News Media Association’s deputy CEO Lynne Anderson says the federal government should act quickly on the ACCC’s recommendations.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, NEWS MEDIA ALLIANCE, NEWS MEDIA ASSOCIATION, GREAT BRITAIN. COMPETITION AND MARKETS AUTHORITY, EUCLID LAW

Digital giants to feel watchdog’s bite

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 24 : 29-Jul-19

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims says the proposed code of conduct for digital platforms would be compulsory, and any breaches of the code would attract large penalties. He adds that the code would result in new sources of revenue for media companies, and argues that in many ways digital platforms are publishers and should therefore be treated like publishers. The code of conduct is amongst the recommendations in the ACCC’s final report on its inquiry into digital platforms.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY

Tech giants to face shake-up

Original article by Simon Benson, Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 8 : 26-Jul-19

The federal government’s official response to the final report on the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s inquiry into digital platforms will not be released until the end of 2019. However, the government is expected to endorse some of the ACCC’s key recommendations. Amongst other things, the ACCC has recommended greater scutiny of digital platforms’ use of news algorithms and how they use and store personal data. The ACCC’s final report will be released on 26 July, having been delivered to the government in June.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, AMAZON.COM INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, UNITED STATES. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM

Huawei ban rules out tilt at mobile: TPG

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 & 22 : 10-May-19

In the wake of the ACCC’s decision to block a proposed merger with Vodafone, TPG Telecom has indicated that it has no plans to build a mobile network. TPG terminated work on its own network in early 2019, after the federal government banned Huawei from supplying equipment for Australia’s 5G network. TPG argues that the Chinese company is the only supplier of 5G equipment that is compatible with the 4G technology that TPG has already installed.

CORPORATES
TPG TELECOM LIMITED – ASX TPM, VODAFONE HUTCHISON AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, VODAFONE AUSTRALIA LIMITED, HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES COMPANY LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, NOKIA AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, ERICSSON AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS CONSUMER ACTION NETWORK LIMITED, IBISWORLD PTY LTD, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, SINGTEL OPTUS PTY LTD, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED

Cartels cave as ACCC hits three a year

Original article by Ben Butler
The Australian – Page: 17 & 28 : 16-Apr-19

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims says it plans to run three cartel prosecutions a year for the foreseeable future. He says a memorandum of understanding with the FBI to share information with the ACCC will help it to prosecute criminal cartel behaviour. The ACCC currently has five criminal cartel cases before the courts, covering industries such as banking and construction. Forming a cartel in Australia has only been illegal since 2009, although it has been illegal in the US since 1890.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, UNITED STATES. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, AMCOR LIMITED – ASX AMC, CONSTRUCTION, FORESTRY, MARITIME, MINING AND ENERGY UNION OF AUSTRALIA, NYK LINE (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, VISY INDUSTRIES AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, KAWASAKI KISEN KAISHA LIMITED