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

Call for tougher rules for big tech despite shift

Original article by Paul Garvey
The Australian – Page: 2 : 10-Oct-19

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has stressed the continued importance of a strong newspaper industry in the era of digital platforms. He says that although there are signs that technology giants such as Facebook and Google are starting to recognise the need to pay for news content, the ACCC and its overseas counterparts will keep pushing for greater regulation of the sector to ensure a level-playing field for traditional media companies.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, GOOGLE INCORPORATED, FACEBOOK INCORPORATED, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA LLC, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, COMMITTEE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF AUSTRALIA

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

IOOF no closer to ANZ deal after court win

Original article by Joanna Mather, Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 17 : 23-Sep-19

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has failed in its court case against IOOF Holdings, in which it sought to argue that the financial services company breached its obligation to act in its members’ best interests. It had been the first time in more than 10 years that APRA had taken superannuation trustees to court, with Federal Court Justice Jayne Jagot finding that its legal arguments were "unpersuasive". Despite APRA’s lack of success in the case, industry observers say it does not mean that IOOF is guaranteed to complete its takeover of the ANZ Bank’s wealth unit.

CORPORATES
IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, ALLENS, ADVISER RATINGS PTY LTD, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, MORNINGSTAR PTY LTD

Wary APRA orders more stress-tests for banks

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 30-Aug-19

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority currently undertakes "stress-testing" of the nation’s banks every three years. However, growing concern about the outlook for the domestic and global economies is believed to have prompted APRA to conduct annual stress tests. APRA’s latest corporate also shows that the performance of superannuation funds will also be a focus for the prudential regulator over the next few years; this will include ranking super funds based on a range of metrics.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY

Your data at risk in takeovers

Original article by Glenda Korporaal
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 21-Aug-19

Foreign Investment Review Board chairman David Irvine has stressed the need to closely scrutinise foreign bids for companies that own data centres or hold Australians’ personal data. Irvine has used an Australia China Business Council speech to argue that data must be afforded the same level of protection as critical infrastructure such as ports, water supply and the power sector. He added that the FIRB’s tougher stance on the issue of data security has not attracted much concern among foreign investors.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FOREIGN INVESTMENT REVIEW BOARD, AUSTRALIA CHINA BUSINESS COUNCIL, AUSTRALIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE ORGANISATION, AUSTRALIAN SECRET INTELLIGENCE SERVICE, AUSTRALIA. CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SECTOR, SIRTEX MEDICAL LIMITED, NATURE’S CARE, LIFE-SPACE GROUP, HEALIUS LIMITED – ASX HLS, JANGHO GROUP, AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE, KPMG AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY, AUSTRALIAN STRATEGIC POLICY INSTITUTE LIMITED

Stop arguing: Industrial Relations tsar’s call to bosses, unions

Original article by Ewin Hannan
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 16-Aug-19

Fair Work Commission president Iain Ross says he agrees with Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott that improving living standards relies on boosting productivity. However, he has queried her claim that the Fair Work Act’s ‘better off overall test’ (BOOT) is a "productivity killer", with the BCA recently saying it wants it replaced with a different test . Ross says doing away with the BOOT could lift profits and reduce wages, but may not necessarily lift productivity. He noted the BCA proposal had received a "predictable response" from Labor and the ACTU that it was Work Choices Mark II.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA, ACTU, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Exorbitant registry fees in ASIC’s sights

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 21 : 15-Aug-19

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is believed to be launching an investigation into the exit fees charged by share registry providers Computershare and Boardroom. This follows a complaint by fellow provider Automic, which stated to the ACCC in December that competition in the share registry sector was being stifled by the ‘exit fees’ that Computershare and Boardroom were charging clients who wanted to shift their business. A Computershare spokesperson has stated that it does not engage in anti-competitive practice.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, COMPUTERSHARE LIMITED – ASX CPU, BOARDROOM LIMITED, AUTOMIC

ACCC poised to take tech giants to court

Original article by Patrick Durkin
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 14-Aug-19

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is close to launching five cases against Google and Facebook in the aftermath of its digital platforms inquiry. The cases are understood to involve alleged breaches of consumer, competition and privacy laws, with ACCC chairman Rod Sims saying on 13 August that Facebook and Google must comply with Australia’s laws if they wish to do business here. He said a decision on whether to proceed with the five cases would be made before the end of 2019.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, FACEBOOK AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, GOOGLE AUSTRALIA PTY LTD