Red card for postal boss

Original article by Tom McIlroy
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 23-Oct-20

Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate will stand aside pending the outcome of an investigation into revelations that four senior executives were rewarded with luxury watches. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ordered the independent review after Holgate told a Senate estimates committee that the Cartier watches – which cost $3,000 each – were given to the executives for securing the Bank@Post deal with three of the major banks. Holgate contended that taxpayers’ money had not been used as Australia Post is a commercial business. Some Coalition MPs have called for Holgate to resign, while the Communications Union’s national secretary Greg Rayner says Australia Post’s entire board should step aside.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA POST, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, COMMUNICATIONS, ELECTRICAL, ELECTRONIC, ENERGY, INFORMATION, POSTAL, PLUMBING AND ALLIED SERVICES UNION OF AUSTRALIA

AMP to reveal damning report

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 15 & 19 : 20-Aug-20

Wealth manager AMP has advised that it will release the report of an independent investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against Boe Pahari. The investigation was undertaken in 2017, and the lawyers representing complainant Julia Szlakowski say that she never received a copy of the full report of the investigation. Pahari was appointed as CEO of AMP Capital in July. Australian Council of Superannuation Investors CEO Louise Davidson contends that Pahari’s position is untenable.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP CAPITAL INVESTORS LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED

APRA blasts banks over risk failures

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 2 : 8-Jan-20

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority is undertaking on-site reviews of the governance, culture, risk and accountability frameworks of the nation’s major banks. APRA chairman Wayne Byres says the initial findings show that changes to these frameworks are needed. Byres has signalled that smaller banks and other financial services providers will also be held accountable. APRA is also APRA is revising the CPS 220 prudential standard.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, ALLIANZ AUSTRALIA LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE

Hayne rebukes directors, PM on climate risk failure

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 9-Dec-19

Royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne says there is no excuse for inaction when it comes for the need for directors to deal with climate change risk. Hayne says it is now international expert consensus that such risk exists, and that Australia’s financial regulators are all clear that climate change represents real and measurable financial risks. Hayne was speaking at a recent gathering of business leaders, regulators and government officials that was organised by the Centre for Policy Development.

CORPORATES
CENTRE FOR POLICY DEVELOPMENT LIMITED, HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, QBE INSURANCE GROUP LIMITED – ASX QBE, COLES GROUP LIMITED – ASX COL

Westpac papers reveal trail of human, IT failure

Original article by Aaron Patrick
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 4 : 28-Nov-19

Westpac’s confidential disclosures to Austrac show that it breached anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws some 29 million times. Austrac has accused the major bank of 23 million breaches, and the additional breaches cannot be prosecuted as they fall outside the statute of limitations. The documents also show that international money transfers with seven global banks had not been reported since 2011, due to problems with a computer system upgrade that began in 2010. However, Westpac did not become aware of the problem until May 2017, and it was not reported to Austrac until August 2018.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE

The Westpac money laundering scandal – Australia’s largest case of moral blindness?

Original article by Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan
Corporate Governance Update – Page: Online : 27-Nov-19

Before its money laundering scandal, Westpac was the ‘least distrusted’ of the big-four banks. That is about to change. In the immediate wake of Westpac being accused by the regulator of breaching anti-money laundering laws 23 million times, the question is, how could there be such a comprehensive failure of governance? Shareholders, employees, customers – and ultimately the courts – all want to know what went wrong. Was it intentional or did the breaches go unnoticed? Chances are we have witnessed corporate Australia’s largest case of moral blindness. On the march to prosperity following the GFC, many C-Suite executives and company directors felt liberated from the shackles of ethics, freed and legitimated by the need to rebuild shareholder value. Moral blindness, it seems, was sanctioned by this ‘prosperity imperative’. A decade later the Financial Services Royal Commission exposed moral blindness across the sector. Possibly the most spectacular revelation was the moral blindness exhibited by the then AMP Chair and CEO. Now it’s Westpac’s turn in the moral blindness spotlight. If any good is to come of the Westpac scandal it is the recognition that every corporate board needs an Ethics Committee to combat intentional wrongdoing. And moral blindness.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

Westpac’s Austrac scandal differs from other institutions

Original article by Robert Gottliebsen
The Australian – Page: 29 : 26-Nov-19

Westpac’s scandal is completely different to scandals that cost the jobs of top executives at the Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and AMP in recent years. Westpac chairman Lindsay Maxsted says that the board had no prior warning of Austrac’s legal action or the specific nature of its allegations. However, Austrac alleges that Westpac was aware of concerns about payments linked to child exploitation as far back as 2013. The question arises as to whether CEO Brian Hartzer was aware of these concerns and withheld this from the board.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP

Investors demand action by Westpac

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 26-Nov-19

Nathan Parkin of Ethical Partners Funds Management contends that some at a high level at Westpac needs to be held accountable for the financial penalties that will arise from its massive breach of anti-money laundering laws. Meanwhile, one of Westpac’s 20 largest shareholders believes that CEO Brian Hartzer will not be to able to remain at the helm in the wake of the scandal. Westpac’s share price has fallen by 8.8 per cent since the scandal was revealed.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, ETHICAL PARTNERS FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, PLATO INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT LIMITED, OWNERSHIP MATTERS PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, INSTITUTIONAL SHAREHOLDER SERVICES INCORPORATED, NORGES BANK INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, BLACKROCK INCORPORATED, THE VANGUARD GROUP INCORPORATED

Report finds ANZ tribal, slow and lazy

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 12 : 23-Aug-19

ANZ chairman David Gonski has commented on a governance, culture and accountability self-assessment that the bank prepared for the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Shortcomings revealed in the document, which Gonski notes was prepared on a confidential basis, prompted APRA to impose a $500 million capital charge on the bank. Gonski says some of these shortcomings include a penchant for seeking short-term fixes and a lack of accountability.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Culture to cost big three banks $500m

Original article by James Fernyhough, James Thomson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 21 : 12-Jul-19

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has imposed additional capital requirements on Westpac, the ANZ Bank and National Australia Bank following its review of their culture, governance and accountability self-assessments. They will have to set aside an extra $500m of capital until their customer remediation programs are completed and they have addressed all of the issues that emerged in their self-assessments. The increased capital requirements will have a slight impact on the three banks’ common equity tier 1 capital ratios.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY